Sonia pressured govt to decide on scheme: Cong

Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to extend the provision of free ration to 800 million citizens till November, the Congress claimed that this was due to pressure by party president Sonia Gandhi and critiqued the PM for not doing more to tackle distress and evading issues in his speech.

Party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate claimed that the announcement came in response to Gandhi’s letter to Modi on June 22 in which she had requested him to provide free food grains to the poor for three more months from July in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation across the country. “It is important to remember that this extension of the scheme was suggested multiple times by the Congress president in her letter to the Prime Minister,” Shrinate said, addressing a virtual news conference.

In her letter to the Prime Minister on June 22, Gandhi had also said that millions of Indians are at risk of slipping into poverty due to the strict nationwide lockdown for the past three months. She had written, “The union government must consider extending the provision for free food grains for a further period of three months i.e. from July-September 2020. Several states have requested for the same.”

The Congress also critiqued the PM’s speech for not addressing critical issues.

“We had hoped that he would look at China in the eye and gather the courage for some tough talk. We had also hoped that he will talk about substantive measures against corona pandemic. We were hoping he was going to speak about the economic ruin and a blueprint to resolve it,” Shrinate said. The Congress, she said, had also hoped that the government would announce an income transfer of ₹7500 to the poor. “But clearly, it was all much ado about nothing. Despite all the euphoria and the massive build up, in his 17 minute long speech, he made, what at best is an administrative decision.”

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “It’s a miracle they haven’t still taken credit for the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, ayurveda and possibly everything good under the sun. Perhaps the only thing they will not take credit for is for inventing zero because it could be a self goal, bringing focus on the top leadership.”

BJP yet to respond on PM remaining silent on critical issues

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