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Mamata, Priyanka should shun political drama over COVID-19: MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan


NEW DELHI: Advising Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to shun political drama over COVID-19, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Friday they should instead become part of 'team India' to fight the pandemic as an united force.

"These people (opposition leaders) have to only put blame on the Centre for anything. They indulge in theatrics ('unhe sirf natak karna hai'). There should not be any political drama at least during coronavirus pandemic-like situations," he told PTI in an interview.

Chouhan hit out at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, accusing her of "doing drama" by offering buses to the Uttar Pradesh administration for ferrying the migrants.

The Congress and the Uttar Pradesh were locked in a political battle after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra told the state's Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that her party had made available 1,000 buses to ferry migrants to their homes.

The UP government has claimed that a list of 1,000 buses had registration numbers of autorickshaws, cars and trucks.

Chouhan said the Chief Minister of West Bengal has reportedly raised questions on issuance of various advisories by the Centre.

"The Centre has been issuing advisories to ensure safety and security of the people of this country. Advisories have come to my state as well. But they (Banerjee and Priyanka) only want to do 'natak' (drama)," he said.

Mamata Banerjee has accused the Centre of playing politics and dubbed the exercise of national lockdown "poorly" planned.

"If we want to save the people of this country from this coronavirus pandemic, then the Centre has to issue advisories or send teams to assess the situation or take other measures. All should welcome it," Chouhan said.

He said chief ministers of all the states should be united and be part of "team India" to fight the pandemic.

"Team India is not only the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. All the chief ministers, irrespective of the state and political party they belong to, are part of team India. They (opposition leaders and CMs) should consider themselves as part of team India and fight coronavirus," Chouhan said.

He said, Prime Minister Modi has always respected the federal structure of the country "but this creates problem to opposition leaders".

Chouhan said there has never been a prime minister in this country who has spoken not once but five times with the chief ministers of the states over the crisis posed by the virus.

"Other than this, whenever we call the prime minister over phone, he is available to us. Have you seen a prime minister like this? Not only me, whosoever chief minister has called him, he has always promptly responded to all such calls.

He always talks to us, discusses things and gives us suggestions," Chouhan said.