Sonia Gandhi writes letter to PM over lockdown, lends support

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 26, 2020, 05.07 PM(IST) Edited By: Sonal Gera

File photo: Sonia Gandhi. Photograph:( PTI )

Story highlights

In her four-page letter, Sonia Gandhi said that the lockdown was a "welcome step”, adding it was imperative for each one of us to rise above partisan interests and honour one's duty towards our country and indeed, towards humanity.

Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi supporting the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed in order to stem the growth of coronavirus in the country. Latest data shows COVID-19, a disease caused by coronavirus, has claimed 13 lives so far, taking the total number of cases to 649.

In her four-page letter, Sonia Gandhi said that the lockdown was a "welcome step”, adding it was imperative for each one of us to rise above partisan interests and honour one's duty towards our country and indeed, towards humanity.

“As president of the Congress, I would like to state that we will support and collaborate fully with every step taking by the union government to ensure the containment of the pandemic. At this challenging and uncertain time, it is imperative for each one of us to rise above partisan interests and honour one's duty towards our country and indeed, towards humanity," Sonia Gandhi wrote.

She suggested that the Centre should consider deferring all EMI payments for the next few months and also waive interests charged by banks for this period. She added that the government should immediately put in place several social protection measures which should include direct cash transfers to daily wage workers, MNREGA workers, construction workers, farmers and others part of the informal sector.

The Congress President recommended her party's NYAY scheme for minimum income support, she called it "the need of the hour". 

"Alternatively, a cash transfer of Rs 7,500 to every Jan Dhan account holder, PM Kisan Yojana account holder, all old-age/widow/differently-abled persons' pension, MNREGA worker's accounts, as a one-time special measure to tide over the 21-day lockdown period should be considered," she added.

Sonia Gandhi further wrote: “10 kg of rice and wheat should be distributed to ration cardholders free of charge during the lockdown. A sector-wise relief package can be given to all sectors severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic.”

Her son, Rahul Gandhi, has however maintained a tougher stand on the issue, and said the government was underestimating the threat.

Talking on the affected states, Maharashtra’s tally has reached 121, including three deaths. Delhi has 36 active cases, while one patient has died so far.