File photo of MK Stalin. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
He accused the government of attacking the common man during a crisis, by hiking fuel prices, at a time when crude rates were relatively low.
DMK President MK Stalin questioned the ruling AIADMK government over its handling of rising Covid-19cases in the state, as Tamil Nadu had surpassed 44,000 cases on Sunday. The Opposition leader was addressing journalists via video conference.
He questioned the government on reasons for a steep increase in positivity rate in the state, the plan of action for flattening the curve in Chennai, refusal to collaborate with opposition parties, on the pre-emptive economic revival plan, budgetary allocations and also regarding why the government hasn’t put forth solutions found by expert committees in the public domain.
Stalin suggested that Tamil Nadu follow the Kerala model, where the localities with a very high number of cases could be sealed and groceries, essentials home-delivered. He also added that people remain indoors, wear masks while stepping out and also maintain social distancing. He also accused the government of attacking the common man during a crisis, by hiking fuel prices, at a time when crude rates were relatively low. He also suggested Rs.5000 as an essential cash relief for all ration cardholders and lashed out at the government for moving too hastily open TASMAC(state-run) liquor outlets.
However, it is noteworthy that MK Stalin did not take any significant questions from the journalists of offer substantial solutions for overcoming the crisis, despite multiple requests to the organizing team. There were a plethora of questions raised by many journalists abut alternative solutions, ideas, and also specific issue-based questions, all of which went unanswered. The only response was that the party would conduct similar virtual media addresses in due course.
WION had publicly (as instructed by the organizers) questioned in the chat window about the DMK’s alternative to the handling of the crisis. The questions were as follows - “Lockdowns have indicated that they can delay the spike in cases, slow the spread and prepare the infrastructure. But there’s an economic(livelihood) cost to it, in the present scenario, would you recommend a lockdown in Chennai/ Tamil Nadu or what is the alternative? If going in for a lockdown, how would the economic impact be dealt with?”
In response to the comment on the ruling party having opened liquor shops, despite the DMK’s opposition and protest, WION highlighted what a senior DMK leader had said on the liquor shops re-opening issue. A senior DMK leader had stated that the breweries owned by their party would continue to supply liquor to state-run outlets until the government shut down all breweries. WION had questioned the DMK President on his stance on the same (where the party protests opening of liquor shops and their leaders run breweries which supply liquor). However, the brewery business is regarded to be a duopoly between the leaders, those in close-ties with both major parties in Tamil Nadu - the AIADMK and DMK.
Many other reporters too had questioned the DMK over any special instructions issued to their cadre, after the unfortunate demise of party legislator J.Anbazhagan, who had succumbed to Covid-19, which he is said to have contracted during the distribution of relief work for the needy.
Some even raised questions about how the Opposition party would have handled this unprecedented crisis differently and whether the party had instructed the hospitals owned by their leaders to reserve beds for Covid-19 patients. All of these went unanswered in the Virtual Press Conference.
As on Sunday, Tamil Nadu has recorded a total of 44661 Covid-19 cases, of which 19,676 are active. The state has so far seen 435v casualties and there have also been reports of under-reportage of deaths, which the officials said were being reconciled. Of the total cases in the state, 31896 are recorded in Chennai, with the capital city alone having 14667 active cases. Roughly 10% of India’s total recorded cases are in Chennai city.