The Shiv Sena on Thursday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest address on the coronavirus crisis, calling it the “best speech in the last 7-8 months”. The party added that Modi spoke more like a “concerned guardian” than the prime minister.

In an editorial published in its mouthpiece Saamna, the party said in a sarcastic tone that Modi’s speech was “moderate and measured”. The party also said that Modi seemed to have embarked on a spiritual path. It mockingly remarked that the “radiance” on the prime minister’s face will fight the darkness of challenges that India is facing.

“Many people had lost sleep over the speech and several others had been sitting in anticipation in front of their television screens,” Shiv Sena said in the editorial in Hindi. “But nothing happened. The prime minister just spoke about how the danger of the coronavirus had not subsided yet and how people shouldn’t be complacent.”

It added: “What PM Modi said about the coronavirus in his short 7-8 minutes was the best address in 7-8 months”.

The Shiv Sena took a jibe at the prime minister for saying in his previous speeches that it will take 21 days to win the fight against the coronavirus. “The fight has not ended even after seven months so the shankh [conch] is being blown in a different way,” the Shiv Sena said, in reference to Modi’s appeal to the citizens in March to beat “thalis” or plates and blow “shankhs” to honour health workers.

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Shiv Sena criticised the prime minister for not addressing unemployment and other concerns raised by the Opposition. “Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had challenged the prime minister to tell the country by when Chinese soldiers will be thrown out of the Indian territory,” Shiv Sena said. “Modi spoke about economic activity picking up but didn’t talk about unemployment.”

The party also used Modi’s speech to mock Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who had clashed with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the reopening of temples in the state earlier this month. Koshyari had asked Thackeray if he had “turned secular”, since he was not allowing the temples to open.

Shiv Sena said that Modi, in his address, had extended wishes to the people for different religious festivals. “This shows that the prime minister is secular and the governor should pay heed to this,” the party said.

In his speech on Tuesday, Modi had emphasised on the need to stay vigilant during the festival season. “The lockdown may have gone but virus has not gone,” he had said. “This is not the time to become irresponsible or believe that coronavirus has gone away.” The prime minister added that the fight against the coronavirus had to continue till a vaccine was found.