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PM to interact with Oppn leaders over COVID-19 crisis

April 04, 2020 22:14 IST

Reaching out to the Opposition amid the ongoing country-wide lockdown due to coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with floor leaders of various parties via a video conference on April 8.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Saturday that floor leaders of all those parties which have a combined strength of more than five MPs in both houses of parliament will be part of the discussion with the prime minister on Wednesday at 11 am.

This will be the first interaction of the prime minister with leaders of opposition after announcing the countrywide lockdown for 21 days on March 24.

However, he had interacted with chief ministers, including of states ruled by non-National Democratic Alliance parties, on April 2 on the issue of tackling coronavirus outbreak.

Joshi along with minister of state for parliamentary affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal have been assigned to coordinate the meeting.

The strategy to fight COVID-19 pandemic including the lockdown is expected to dominate the discussion of leaders of various parties with Modi.


Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress and floor leaders of the Trinamool Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Biju Janata Dal, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi as well as various other parties have been invited for the meeting.

However, Trinamool Congress sources said their leaders Derek O' Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay are unlikely to attend the interaction.

"The TMC will not attend the meeting. We have been seeking a discussion in Parliament and an all-party meeting over COVID-19 since early March but it was never called. Now why (call a meeting)? (For) Photo op?” said a senior leader of the Mamata Banerjee-led party.

Floor leaders of various NDA partners will also be part of the meeting.

Leaders of all parties will be given an opportunity to share their views and give suggestions on the fight against COVID-19.

According to government sources, Prime Minister is expected to discuss with the leaders the prevailing situation in the country in wake of COVID-19 and seek their cooperation.

He is also likely to share the details of the various measures and actions taken by the government to tackle COVID-19 and the relief package announced in this regard.

The sources said senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh are also expected to be part of the meeting.

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