The Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the war against coronavirus cannot be won by clapping, clanging of plates or lighting of lamps.
People “misconstrued” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said, adding that Modi should clearly spell out what it expected from citizens and those not obeying orders should be punished.
Modi last week appealed to people to defeat the coronavirus by switching off lights in their homes for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday amid the nationwide lockdown.
People across the country enthusiastically responded by lighting candles and diyas, and flashing lights of their mobile phones in balconies and in front of their houses.
Modi earlier urged people to observe ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22, and come out briefly at their main doors and in balconies to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers, who at the forefront of the battle against coronavirus, with claps, sounds of bells and conches.
Taking a dim view of Modi’s appeals, the Shiv Sena said, “Claps, thalis and lights…like this we will lose the war. There are many aspects to how people responded to these appeals. Citizens misconstrued the prime minister’s appeal…either the PM cannot communicate with citizens or he himself wants such a festive atmosphere.”
It said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has been urging people to maintain self-discipline, and communicating with them while ensuring there is no confusion.
“In the fight against coronavirus, you need such a commander. We lost the Panipat battle because of rumours and lack of planning. The war against coronavirus should not end up like that and people of the state shouldn’t meet the fate of Sadashivrao bhau (Marathaarmy commander in Panipat battle),” the Marathi daily said.
It said the prime minister should clearly tell people what is expected from them.
“Those who don’t obey should be punished. It is not that only Markaz (referring to Tablighi Jamaat’s congregation in Delhi last month) breaks rules. Are those blaming the Markaz for the coronavirus spread themselves maintaining discipline and social distancing?” it asked.
The Sena cricitised incidents of people coming out on streets with candles, torches and mobile phones and dancing, and said due to bursting of crackers there was a fire incident in Solapur.
In Wardha, BJP MLA Dadarao Keche celebrated his birthday (during the lockdown) and more than 200 people gathered for the party, it noted.
The Sena also pointed out similar incidents in other parts of the country, including that of a BJP women’s wing leader at Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh firing in the air to ‘chase away’ the coronavirus.