AGENCIES, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with the chief ministers from across states to form a strategy to find a way ahead in the country’s fight against the coronavirus lockdown.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan skipped the crucial meeting and had sent its suggestions in writing. He deputed Chief Secretary Tom Jose to represent the state. Kerala was the only state not represented by its chief minister in the video-conference.
Reports say that only seven states are allowed to speak during the video meet with the Prime Minister today and Kerala was not among those seven states. Kerala CM had the opportunity to speak in the PM’s second interaction held on April 11. For today’s meeting, the states who have no permission to speak have been asked to submit in writing what they want to convey to the Centre.
“In today’s meeting, there was no time allotted for the Kerala Chief Minister to speak. The Chief Secretary will be attending the meeting,” an unnamed official was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
Reports had said West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee would only attend the meeting briefly and then ask a senior bureaucrat to represent her. But Mamata, who was said to be upset she was not given a chance to speak, did attend the meeting.
“Though she is not slotted to speak, she has decided to watch and speak when she gets the chance,” said sources.
PM @narendramodi interacts with CMs to plan ahead for tackling #COVID19; says #lockdown has yielded positive results, country has managed to save thousands of lives in the past 1.5 months#IndiaFightsCorona
— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 27, 2020
As the nationwide lockdown is about to end on May 3, PM Modi underlined the key challenge of balancing lives and livelihood in the country.
The Prime Minister has already held three such meetings with chief ministers to discuss the situation in the country as it tackles a rising number of infections.
However, after the meeting at the press conference at Nabanna, when Mamata was asked about her meeting with the PM, she said, “We were just like mute spectators.”