Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday (May 2) said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an easily approachable person, considering the position he holds, and has an eye on the different problems each state is battling amid the coronavirus outbreak.
While speaking to Aaj Tak during a special programme e-Agenda, the chief minister said, “To tackle the different issues every state is facing, PM Modi has formed a group of ministers and conducting open discussions with them. In fact, he discussed the idea of extending the lockdown with the chief ministers before taking any decision.”
“PM Modi is an easily contactable prime minister and we need to have confidence in him and his decisions. Any Chief Minister, irrespective of any party, can easily talk to him anytime, ” he added.
Responding to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calling the nationwide lockdown in view of the coronavirus pandemic as a “pause button” for life and the country’s economy, the chief minister said, “Congress-ruled Punjab was the first state to announce lockdown extension even before the chief ministers held a meeting with PM Modi. The PM held video conferencing four times, talked to different chief ministers several times over the phone. The states should stay with the Centre on such decisions.”
Elaborating on what life would look like post-lockdown, CM Rupani said, “If the lockdown is removed and the coronavirus-infected patients start moving from one state to another, the states will be in deep trouble. It is for each one of us to unite and fight the COVID-19 outbreak together.”
He said that during the video conferencing with the PM, he had demanded for the economic activities to be started in places where the situation is under control.
“We will have to live with coronavirus even after the lockdown is lifted. Now many things have come out regarding this. We have to boost our immunity and can also use Ayurveda. Regular supply of masks, sanitisers, and proper hygiene will have to be maintained. People are slowly starting to realize that wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and washing hands with soap will become their habit,” he said.
To encourage the use of masks, sanitisers, and practicing social distancing post-lockdown as well, the chief minister said his government had called for an oath regarding the same on Friday (May 1), which was also well received by many.
“Lakhs of people have also posted on social media with hash tags that they have taken an oath to make it their habit,” he added.
Expressing concern over the incidents of social distancing and attack on doctors, CM Rupani said, “Now, when patients are recovering, people are welcoming the healthcare workers and frontline warriors with flowers. It is now that they have started respecting doctors, nurses and police.”
Following the sudden spike in number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Gujarat to 4,400, the CM blamed people related to the Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in New Delhi last month.
Concurring that besides Ahmedabad, Surat is the worst-hit city in the state, CM Rupani said, “Ahmedabad is divided into two, Old Ahmedabad and New Ahmedabad. New Ahmedabad has 90 per cent population and Old Ahemdabad has 10 per cent. But because Jamaat people hid their travel links, Old Ahmedabad has reported 90 per cent of corona cases with just 10 per cent population.”
“In Ahmedabad and Surat, the Tablighi Jamaat people travelled extensively and hid their travel history. They met many people causing wide-scale spread of COVID-19 there,” he added while joining the list of chief ministers Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Trivendra Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) in blaming the Nizamuddin markaz attendees for the spike in cases.