Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired a meeting with lawmakers of the political parties via video conference to discuss the situation across the country due to Coronavirus pandemic. Now, a video clip of the meeting has been leaked online in which TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay can be seen on one screen and PM Modi on the other. This is the first such video to emerge in which PM Modi can be heard having a conversation with others as the government releases the visuals without audio. In fact, this is the first clip of any of the video conferences the Prime Minister has held - with numerous key groups - in which the audio is evident.
Here is a snapshot of the leaked video:
In the video which appears to have been leaked from the Trinamool MP's side, PM Modi described the current situation in the country similar to a "national emergency." He also said that social distancing is the only way to fight this pandemic which is what the other countries are practising as well. Prime Minister Modi hinted about extending the lockdown beyond April 14 as he said that various CMs and District officials have suggested an extension. Even if the lockdown is lifted, it will be done in a phased manner and it cannot be totally lifted in one go, the Prime Minister said.
Interacting with floor leaders of the opposition and other parties in parliament via video conferencing on Wednesday, PM Modi said, "We must continue to remain vigilant."
"The situation in the country is akin to a social emergency... it has necessitated tough decisions and we must continue to remain vigilant," the Prime Minister told the leaders, according to an official statement. Suggestions were also given by the leaders on extending the lockdown, and on a "phased exit" after the lockdown ended. The leaders provided feedback, suggested policy measures, discussed the 21-day lockdown and the way forward, according to the statement.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 149 and the number of cases climbed to 5,194 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. The Prime Minister praised the efforts of state governments working together with the centre in this fight against the pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)