On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Indians for nine minutes of their time on Sunday at 9 pm, April 5. He asked people to turn off lights in their homes and instead light candles and flash torches or their mobile phones in order to shun the "darkness" of COVID-19.
Addressing the country via a video message, PM Modi also lauded the discipline exhibited by Indians during the 21-day lockdown imposed by the government to check the spread of coronavirus.
However, opposition leaders did not seem convinced of the effectiveness of the move in terms of fighting the coronavirus pandemic. What seemed to irk many was the PM stating that the Diya lighting was meant to establish a sense of solidarity among Indians.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said that he had expected Modi to roll out a generous livelihood support package for the poor, Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor demanded to know what the government was actually doing to contain the virus.
What we expected from you today was FAP II, a generous livelihood support package for the poor, including for those categories of poor who were totally ignored by @nsitharaman on 25-3-2020.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 3, 2020
Listened to the Pradhan Showman. Nothing about how to ease people’s pain, their burdens, their financial anxieties. No vision of the future or sharing the issues he is weighing in deciding about the post-lockdown. Just a feel-good moment curated by India’s Photo-Op PrimeMinister!— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 3, 2020
Modiji— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) April 3, 2020
Learnt nothing about government’s steps to
1) contain the virus
2) protect our medical practitioners
3) provide testing kits
4) reach food and supplies to the poor
5) finance migrant labour , the jobless
Light the ‘ Diya ‘ of reason
Not that of superstition !
Turn out lights & come on balconies?— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) April 3, 2020
GET REAL MR. MODI!
Give India fiscal pkg worth 8-10pc of GDP
Ensure immediate wages to construction & other labour during lockdown- laws exist permitting this
Stop gagging real press in name of curbing fake news
Earlier in the month, Indians had taken in large numbers to their windows and balconies and even the streets to observe PM Modi's call for beating plates and clapping at 5 PM on the Janata Curfew Sunday as a mark of appreciation for the health and medical personnel at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight.
While the move was deemed a success by the government and received praise from other countries as well as the United Nations, many in the opposition had at the time slammed the idea. "Clapping doesn't kill virus," Tharoor had tweeted at the time.
Meanwhile, the number of active coronavirus cases crossed the 2,000 mark in India on Friday with the total number of deaths at 56.