Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed the central government over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said that there was “no lockdown even during world war”.
While speaking with industrialist Rajiv Bajaj, the former Congress President said that slammed the government over the economic slowdown and said that coronavirus crisis has deepened the issue of unemployment in the country.
“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 during his conversation with Bajaj.
Responding to Gandhi’s remark, Bajaj called India’s lockdown ‘draconian’, saying that it has “decimated the economy” and the government has “flattened the wrong curve”.
“Even in terms of how to approach this from a medical point of view, starting with the bogey of medical infrastructure. We are all aware that there can be no medical infrastructure that can be adequate to combat something like this. But nobody was willing to explain the maths to us. We are so many people, so many are vulnerable, 5 per cent or whatever that is. This is what that looks like, this is how we are preparing ourselves or perhaps we cannot prepare ourselves. Maybe that is not a politically appropriate thing to say,” Bajaj said.
The managing director of Bajaj Auto further said that that in terms of being tolerant and sensitive, India needs to mend a couple of things, adding that the lockdown has still not solved the problem as the virus is “waiting to hit you when you will unlock”.
“We are not seeing a smooth, concerted, rhythmic movement towards unlocking,” he noted.
Agreeing with Bajaj, Gandhi said that the lockdown was also imposed “suddenly” and it was completely devastating for the poor people and migrants.
“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,” Gandhi noted.
Talking about easing the restrictions, Gandhi said that it won’t be easy for the Centre to unlock the lockdown and it is going to be “extremely complicated”.
Meanwhile, the industrialist also claimed that he was advised not to speak to the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi as it can lead to trouble.
“Nahi, media me bolna ek baat hai but Rahul Gandhi se baatein karna ek dusri baat hai”. (It is one thing to speak to media, but quite different when you are speaking to Rahul Gandhi.)”I pushed that a bit, I’ll tell you very candidly. I said, we are going to talk about business, economics, lockdown, what to do, how to move forward, technology, products, he loves motorcycles and so we’ll talk about motorcycles etc,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi has been holding a series of dialogues over the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on India. The Congress leader on April 30 had spoken with former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan. He later held a conversation with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.