Leaders across party lines hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on coronavirus on Thursday.
While the BJP lauded the prime minister for making "inspiring" suggestion, several Congress leaders, including former finance minister P Chidambaram, too offered their support to his call for "Janata curfew" on Sunday to combat the spread of COVID-19.
BJP president JP Nadda said crores of party workers will help in implementing Modi's suggestions, including a 'Janta Curfew' on Sunday, while Union minister Prakash Javadekar expressed confidence that people will adhere to his appeals.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said he is "duty-bound" to support the prime minister.
"I am duty-bound to support the prime minister. In effect, the prime minister has asked the people to wage the war against COVID-19 with moral armaments. We shall do so on Sunday and in the following days," he said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the suggestions offered by Modi to combat the pandemic are "inspiring and necessary" and asked people to follow them.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said Modi's address underscores both the seriousness and in a sense, "helplessness" of the government.
"It is perfectly understandable given the evolving situation sans a vaccine. Reassurance with regard to health infrastructure in addition to preventive measures would have been helpful," he tweeted.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, criticised Modi's broadcast, saying it is unfortunate that he did not spell out in this "much-advertised" address anything about the government's preparations and actions taken to help people fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is clear that the poor and the marginalised will suffer the most due to the shutdown. What is the govt doing about making surplus food grains available to the marginalised sections? This 'Janta Curfew' notwithstanding, will the door-to-door enumeration for the NPR which the govt in its affidavit said is linked to NRC, proceed? Why was prime minister silent on this?" he asked.
Minutes after Modi's address, TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee alleged that the prime minister's speech had a "hidden Hindutva agenda" while adding that he failed to give any direction on how to tackle the pandemic.
"He has failed to provide a direction to the nation in combating the pandemic. There is no proper proposals to tackle it. Rather he was speaking of ringing bells, this is absurd. How will you combat coronavirus by ringing bells?
"There is a hidden agenda of Hindutva and RSS in his speech. We condemn such an approach during this national crisis," Mukherjee, a senior TMC leader, said.
The prime minister, in his address, made a fervent appeal to all Indians to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected by coronavirus, saying the world has never seen a danger as grave as this.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders' (CAIT) said that seven crore business establishments across the country may down their shutters on Sunday.
"A final decision to the call for nationwide market closure on 22 March will be taken tomorrow (on Friday) after having consultations with trade leaders of all states," said CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal.
In his address to the nation, Modi made a fervent appeal to all Indians to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected by the coronavirus outbreak, saying the world has never seen a danger as grave as this.
He called for 'Janata Curfew' on 22 March from 7 am to 9 pm, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of the house.
"Even World War I and II did not affect as many countries as coronavirus has done," Modi said in a national broadcast.
Asking people to sacrifice "some weeks of yours, some time of yours", Modi said given that coronavirus has no cure yet, the only way to stay safe is to stay indoors.
"I request all people in the country to get out of the house only when it is extremely necessary, try and do all work from home," he said.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 20, 2020 07:42:28 IST