Rahul Gandhi slams Centre over Covid-19 crisis, says ‘there was no lockdown even during world war’ | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, in a dialogue with industrialist Rajiv Bajaj on the economic fallout of the Covid-19 crisis, criticised the Central government for its handling of the disease and said that “there was no lockdown even during the world war“.
“It is quite surreal. I do not think anyone imagined that the world would be locked down in this way. I do not think even during the world war, the world was locked down. Even then, things were open. It is a unique and devastating sort of phenomenon,” Gandhi said.
“The economy slowed down before Covid-19. Unemployment was becoming a serious problem before this virus. Now Covid-19 pushed it over the edge,” he said.
Responding to the Congress leader, Bajaj criticised the Central government for imposing the ‘draconian’ lockdown and claimed that it was only in India that people were not allowed to move outdoors.
“The way India has been locked down is a draconian lockdown. I am not hearing about this kind of lockdown from anywhere else. All my friends and family from across the world have always been free to step out,” Bajaj said.
On tacking the hardships of economy, Bajaj was of the view that India can tackle it by adopting “specialisation” as a strategy.
Agreeing with the industrialist’s opinion, the Gandhi scion said, “It (lockdown) was also imposed suddenly. The bitter-sweet thing you said is shocking to me. See, rich people can deal with it as they have a home, a comfortable atmosphere, but it is completely devastating for the poor people and migrants.”
“A lot of people said that they have lost confidence and I think this is a very sad thing, and dangerous for the country,” the Congress leader added.
Rajiv Bajaj further targeted the Centre and said, “Don’t understand how despite being an Asian country, we ought not to look East, we looked at Italy, France, Spain, the UK and the US. Not right benchmarks in any sense be it in terms of inherent immunity, temperature, demography etc.”
“Instead of looking to the west or to the east, why didn’t we say that we are actually a confident country, let’s look at ourselves and let’s come out with an Indian solution. Why was that not the natural impulse?” Gandhi said.
Taking the conversation ahead Rahul Gandhi told Bajaj that he spoke to some of the experts and specialist regarding the ongoing problem and said, “Right in the early days of the lockdown, what one of them told me and which stuck in my mind, he said, look the moment you apply a full lockdown, you are changing the nature of the disease. You are making this non-fatal disease to fatal disease in the minds of the people. Once you’ve done that, then to reverse that, that is going to take a significant amount of time and it is going to take a lot of effort. He also said that don’t view the lockdown as an on-off switch. It is not going to be an on-off switch.”
“Once you have moved into a lockdown, switching it off again is not going to be easy. It is going to be extremely complicated. I liked your point about, we look West and not East. Why do you think we look west,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi has been holding a series of dialogues on the status of India’s economy and the impact of coronavirus lockdown. On April 30, he first held a conversation with former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan.
He later held a conversation with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee who was of the view that the country should come out with a large enough stimulus package to revive demand.
A few days ago he also spoke to globally renowned public health experts — Professor Ashish Jha of Harvard Global Health Institute and Swedish epidemiologist Johan Giesecke.

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