Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Saturday praised
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying that he has taken a positive stand over the coronavirus pandemic and shown how a responsible opposition party should behave during a crisis.
The party, which shares power with Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, said that Gandhi took a stand in public interest and displayed political maturity when he said that he might have differences with Modi, but this is not the time to quarrel as the country needs to give a united fight against the pandemic.
In an editorial in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, the Sena said that Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should hold one-on-one talks to discuss the pandemic for the benefit of the country.
“There can be certain opinions about Rahul Gandhi.
Well, there are opinions about PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as well. Half of the BJP’s success is due to tarnishing the image of Rahul Gandhi. This continues even today.
“But Gandhi has to be praised for the stand he has taken in the present crisis. He has created a model code of conduct on how an opposition party should behave when the country is faced with a crisis,” the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.
“Gandhi recognised the coronavirus threat well in advance and continuously warned the government to take necessary steps. When everybody was busy pulling down the (Congress-led) Madhya Pradesh government, Gandhi was trying to wake the government up to tackle the coronavirus crisis,” the Sena said.
Gandhi repeatedly urged the government to stop the export of medical equipment required in the treatment of coronavirus patients, it added.
“On Thursday, Gandhi again said that this is not the time to quarrel. He said, he might have difference with PM Modi, but this is not the time for it. He said that we need to unite in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and if we quarrel, we will not succeed in it,” the party said.
“He also said that lockdown was not a remedy, but just a ‘pause button’ in the coronavirus fight. He said once the lockdown is lifted, the virus will once again spread, which is why tests should be conducted on maximum number of people. His statement that lockdown doesn’t kill the virus, but allows the government to create medical facilities is completely true,” it added.
“We need to have a concrete strategy to come out of the lockdown,” the Sena said.
It added that the thoughts expressed by Gandhi are like a “chintan shibir” (brainstorming session) for the government and opposition parties, and would benefit the country.
“After hearing Gandhi’s views, we feel that he and PM Modi should hold direct talks over the coronavirus crisis at least once,” it added.