Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of trying to weaken the resolve of the country to fight the novel coronavirus, ANI reported. Prasad alleged that Gandhi was “running a campaign based on falsehood, misrepresentation and deliberate twisting of facts”.
Gandhi had alleged on Tuesday that the nationwide lockdown, that has lasted for over two months, has failed to yield the results Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expected in curbing the virus. However, Prasad, in a virtual press conference, alleged that making unsubstantiated claims has become a trait of the Congress leader. He also said that the Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Punjab were among the first ones to announce a lockdown, in March.
“Excluding China, the top 15 countries of the world most affected by the coronavirus have a combined population of 142 crore,” Prasad said. “According to a World Health Organization report, 3,43,562 people have died in these counties as on the evening of May 26. Meanwhile, India alone has a population of 137 crore and only 4,345 people have died in the country due to the virus.”
Prasad said that while deaths were unfortunate, there is no cure for the coronavirus. He added that over 41% of people in India who contracted Covid-19 had already recovered. The minister asserted that India’s success in containing the virus is the result of Modi’s effective leadership and efforts to unite the country.
Gandhi had also asked the Centre to come clean about the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on the border, and on increasing India-Nepal tensions over a boundary dispute. However, Prasad claimed that “no one can dare to stare at Modi’s India”, The Quint reported. But he refused to elaborate on the standoff in Ladakh and North Sikkim.
The law minister, answering a question about the Supreme Court’s observation that the efforts made by both the Centre and the states to address the problems of migrant labourers had been inadequate, said governments at both levels are doing their best to handle the situation, and are “open to suggestions”, The Indian Express reported.
“The Supreme Court has always got its jurisdiction to take these type of subjects, or any subjects for that matter,” Prasad said. “But as the law minister of India, its not proper for me to make any comment on the observations. The Supreme Court has issued notice and the Government of India and the state governments will respond on what steps they have taken.”
India has so far reported 1,51,767 cases of Covid-19, including 4,337 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Across the country, 64,426 people have recovered. The lockdown, which began on March 25, has been extended thrice, in the last instance till May 31.