Sonia Gandhi, Congress CMs to PM: After May 17th, what… how?

New Delhi: The Congress high command and the party’s chief ministers have asked the prime minister to spell out the criteria being applied to decide on whether or not to carry on with the lockdown and the government’s strategy on lifting the restrictions.

At a videoconference convened by the AICC on Wednesday, party CMs also accused the Centre of complicating the process of easing the lockdown through its “unilateral decision” on colour coding of zones based on Covid-19 cases.

The AICC accused the Centre of not extending financial aid to states, even as it was indulging in “economically antinational acts” by raising petrol and diesel taxes amid the Covid-19 emergency. It asked the Modi government to pass on 75-85% of the revenue generated from higher fuel taxes to states, so that the money could be used to deal with the Covid-19 health and economic emergencies they were facing.

Addressing her colleagues via videoconference, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said: “After May 17th, What? and After May 17th, How? … what criteria is the government of India using to judge how long the lockdown is to continue.”

Former PM Manmohan Singh said: “We need to know, as Soniaji said, what will happen after lockdown 3.0? … CMs need to deliberate and ask as to what is the strategy of the Government of India to get the country out of the lockdown?”

Congress CMs detailed the financial crisis their states were facing, while complaining about how the “unilateral” central decisions were hurting them. They reiterated the demand for central aid and explained steps they have taken to deal with the lockdown and future challenges.

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