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PM to hold all-party meeting

The decision has come after severe criticism by the Opposition

  • Published 5.04.20, 3:29 AM
  • Updated 5.04.20, 3:37 AM
  • a min read
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Modi has rarely held all-party meetings on critical issues, a convention that was followed by most previous governments, including that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. (AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Wednesday hold a video conference with floor leaders of all parties in Parliament on the Covid-19 crisis.

The decision has come after severe criticism by the Opposition of the government’s handling of the pandemic, and a day after Modi held a video conference with 49 sportspersons to discuss how to fight the outbreak.

“Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh Narendra Modi will be interacting with the floor leaders of political parties through video conference on 8th April 2020 at 11am,” a release issued by parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said.

The release said parties with more than 5 MPs would be invited to the conference.

Since he came to power for the first time in 2014, Modi has rarely held all-party meetings on critical issues, a convention that was followed by most previous governments, including that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Sources in the Trinamul legislature party in the Rajya Sabha said neither of their floor leaders, Derek O’Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, was likely to attend. “We have been told not to waste our time in that photo op,” said a Trinamul MP.

“Parliament was kept running for so long, amid the Covid-19 scare, to give the BJP enough time to fell the government in MP. Not one real discussion, not one statement on the pandemic then, although we kept asking for it.... Now this. We are not going, unless something changes at the last minute,” he added.

The Opposition, led by the Congress, has attacked the government for imposing a sudden and ill-planned lockdown on the country without assessing the impact on migrant workers and day labourers and offering them a package.

A humanitarian crisis unfolded as lakhs of panicked migrant workers headed home to villages across the country, cramming into any available mode of transport or walking hundreds of miles. Many died on the way.