Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his appeal to light a candle for 9 minutes amid soaring cases of Coronavirus in the country, Housing Minister of Maharashtra Jitendra Awhad said it is not a festive time. Criticizing PM Modi he said that 'past and future is already in dark, he asked if candle lighting is the solution. Maharashtra has so far reported the highest number of cases at 335, while 42 have recovered, 16 has died.
In a video message, he said: "It was expected from our Prime Minister that he will talk about food grains, he will talk about the policy of schedule caste and schedule tribe who have been deprived of food grains, he will talk about migrant labours, talk about 50% of the population who does not have a penny in their pocket and food in their house, talk about medicine, vaccine, masks, sanitisation, providing money to the state, talk about making people comfortable in the current situation, and what Mr Modi talks - 'put your lights off and on the torch of your mobile'! Is this an event? In a crisis, A PM looks like a ray of hope and here he comes with an idea which is of the stone age. Absolute darkness in everybody's house except a few, Sorry to say Mr Modi India is not a country of fools. You can't make a fool out of India whenever you like. I am declaring I am not going to off my lights. Instead of that money I will use for the poor. I don't mind disobeying you, I will follow my ethics and help the poor."
Earlier on Thursday, PM Modi interacted with the Chief Ministers of all the states including Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the measures to combat the novel Coronavirus. Praising the states for working as a team, he informed them about the possibility of a second wave of the spread of the virus.
Highlighting that the common goal was to ensure minimum loss of life, the PM noted that testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine should remain the areas of focus in the next few weeks. The PM also flagged the necessity of maintaining the supply of essential medical equipment and called for dedicated hospital facilities for COVID-19 patients. Another important message imparted by PM Modi was that Crisis Management Groups needed to be set up at the district level besides the appointment of District Surveillance Officers.
Sharing a video message on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to light a candle on Sunday as a symbol that India is united in the fight against Coronavirus. "On April 5, Sunday, at 9 PM, I want 9 minutes of yours. Switch off the lights, come out in your balcony, and light a candle, torch, diya, etc. Switch off the lights of your house and light a candle so that we can feel the enlightenment and we may feel that we are not lonely. I also request people to not go out while doing this. Do not cross the Laxman Rekha of social distancing. This is the precaution for Coronavirus. You are not alone, we are not alone," PM said.