Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday criticised the government’s strategies to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and claimed that India was the only country that did not benefit from a lockdown.
His rebuke came on the day the when cases in India crossed the 40-lakh mark. With a record 86,432 new cases in 24 hours, India’s tally on Saturday morning rose to 40,23,179. The toll is now 69,561, while 31,07,233 people have recovered. India is soon likely to overtake Brazil, which has recorded 40.91 lakh cases so far.
“I had predicted that total number of infections will reach 55 lakh by September 30,” the former finance minister said in a series of tweets. “I am wrong. India will reach that number by September 20. By end September, the number may touch 65 lakh.”
“The only country that is not reaping the benefit of the lockdown strategy appears to be India,” he added. “PM Modi who promised that we will defeat coronavirus in 21 days must explain why India failed when other countries seem to have succeeded.” He was referring to the prime minister’s statement on March 25 that the fight against the pandemic is a war that Indians will win after 21 days.
India instituted a lockdown in March, soon after the first coronavirus cases began to emerge in the country. Between March 24 and May 31, India was under a strict lockdown for 58 days but over the past four months, the Centre has relaxed norms and permitted many economic activities to resume. In the latest set of relaxations, India allowed the resumption of metro rail services and permitted congregations with up to 100 persons. While international air travel is still mostly banned, gyms, yoga institutes and most economic activities outside containment zones have already begun.