Former Union finance minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram has described the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “watershed moment” in the battle against COVID-19 and called Modi as the commander and the people as “foot soldiers”.
In a statement, Chidambaram also suggested a 10-point plan to put money in the bank accounts of the poor and the marginalised, including farmers and labourers, and demanded a cut in GST rates by 5 per cent on all wage goods, essential goods and services, and all goods of mass consumption from April 1 to June 30, 2020.
My statement on the current lockdown and how the Government can help make it better. @PMOIndia @narendramodi @nsitharaman @nsitharamanoffc @FinMinIndia #STAYHOMEINDIA pic.twitter.com/0sQJwG0HAD
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) March 25, 2020
“The prime minister’s announcement yesterday of a nationwide 21-day lockdown is a watershed moment in the battle against COVID-19. We should put behind us the debates that took place before March 24 and look upon the nationwide lockdown as the beginning of a new battle in which the people are the foot soldiers and the PM is the Commander.” “We owe a duty to extend our total support to the prime minister and the central and state governments,” he said.
A senior Congress functionary, however, said this was Chidambaram’s personal view and not that of the party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a complete lockdown of the entire country for 21 days in an unprecedented drastic measure to try halt the spread of coronavirus shortly after which the Centre said all road, rail and air services will remain suspended during this period.
Chidambaram also urged people to stay home, saying “STAYHOMEINDIA is a great rally cry’. He also called for protection of the current employment and wages, besides putting money into the hands of the poor and the marginalised.