- Modi holds meeting with Parliamentary Floor Leaders; To meet Chief Ministers via video conferencing on Saturday
- Karnataka Cabinet to meet tomorrow; One more COVID-19 death in Kalaburagi; State total death toll 5
New Delhi/Bengaluru: In what may hold many answers to possibility of an extension of the ongoing nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting with Parliamentary Floor Leaders of different parties this morning. However, there is unlikely to be any immediate announcement, before Apr. 11, say sources.
Only Floor Leaders of political parties having more than five MPs participated in the meeting. This was the first such meeting to be chaired by PM Modi and it came amidst severe criticism by the Opposition parties, especially the Congress, of the Government’s handling of the crisis.
The meeting started at 11 am through video conferencing, to decide the future course of action as far as coronavirus outbreak in India is concerned, among other key issues. The primary point on the agenda was whether to end the lockdown or extend it and if the Government wishes to withdraw it, what should be the approach. The current shutdown is slated to end on Apr. 14.
Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP leader S.C. Mishra, Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and DMK leader T.R. Baalu were among those who joined the video-conferencing.
Another point of discussion was the economic impact of the shutdown and how to deal with it. Money released to States, future of daily wage workers who are the worst hit due to total shutdown and scope if any possible economic package was also on the table to discuss in the meeting, said sources.
At the meeting, the PM sought suggestions from Opposition leaders on the road map to contain the outbreak. Besides, he also apprised them of the steps being taken by the Government to check the spread of virus.
PM to meet CMs on Saturday
Meanwhile, sources said that the Centre will take a final call on extending the lockdown for Coronavirus after PM Modi’s second meeting with Chief Ministers via video conference on Saturday (Apr. 11). The PM will discuss with CMs about a way forward after Apr. 14, following up on the last meeting, in which he had asked for their suggestions on lifting the lockdown in a staggered manner.
The Government is considering requests of several States to continue the lockdown, sources say. Sources say the Government is in favour of removing the restrictions in a graded manner to ensure that the economy and basic sectors restart.
While more and more States have asked for an extension of lockdown, given the spurt in COVID-19 cases, there is massive concern over job losses and the need to restart the economy. The Government is exploring the reopening of sectors in a phased manner.
One more dies in Kalaburagi
A 65-year-old man of Kalaburagi died of COVID-19 at the ESIC hospital here this morning. The number of people succumbing to Coronavirus rose to two in the district, five in the State. A 76-year-old elderly man who returned from abroad died of COVID-19 on Mar. 10 in Kalaburagi.
Meanwhile, reports from Bengaluru say that the Karnataka Cabinet will meet in Bengaluru at 11 am tomorrow to take stock of the virus situation, its spread, positive cases and total death toll.
The Cabinet has to seek permission from Centre if any decision on the lockdown has to be taken. Sources said that the State Government will follow the decisions taken by the Centre on lockdown relaxation.