The meeting is significant because it comes just days after Modi went on a three-city trip to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to visit facilities of pharmaceutical companies
New Delhi: The ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached out to all political parties and have invited them for an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the prevailing situation of covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The meeting is significant because it comes just days after Modi went on a three-city trip to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to visit facilities of pharmaceutical companies to personally review and monitor the process of development of vaccine against coronavirus in the country.
“The all-party meeting has been called on Friday, 4 December, by the union government. It will be interesting to see what the Prime Minister has to say on the management of covid-19. Most of the political parties are not pleased with the situation but we will start commenting about it after listening to the views of the PM," said a senior leader of Samajwadi Party (SP) which will be present for the meeting.
Among the leaders who are expected to be present for the all-party meeting along with PM Modi would be defence minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah, health minister Harsh Vardhan while parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi and minister of state Arjun Ram Meghwal would also be attending the meeting.
“Since the union government has invited leaders of political parties in both the Houses of Parliament, it is possible the union government would elaborate on its plan for the winter session of Parliament. Leaders of all political parties in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been invited so it is possible that union government would talk about the covid-19 situation in the country and the possibility of winter session," said a senior leader of Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Although this is the third all party meeting called by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on any national issue since the imposition of nationwide lockdown in the country, this would be the second meeting on the covid-19 situation. PM has also held an all-party meeting to discuss the ongoing border tussle between India and China in Ladakh. While the all-party meeting on covid-19 situation was held in April, the second meeting to discuss border issue with China was held in June.
Before the first all party meeting on covid-19, PM Modi had spoken to former presidents and prime ministers as well as several leaders of national and regional political parties to discuss the pandemic situation in the country before the first all party meeting in April.
The timing of the all-party meeting is significant as it comes amidst voices of concerns from senior leaders of opposition parties, particularly Congress, who are demanding that the centre should give more clarity on the vaccine distribution and pricing strategy. There is also a growing pressure from opposition ruled state governments which have been demanding that there should be more clarity on the cost sharing of vaccine.
Chhattisgarh chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel had last week said that the centre should clarify whether it would be making the vaccine available to the states for free, what would be the cost sharing if any or if the states had to take care of all expenses then they could look at implementing their own guidelines in this respect.
The all-party meeting comes nearly a week after PM Modi met chief ministers of states which have seen a recent surge in cases of the pandemic. One of the key issues which came up in the meeting then was over the progress on vaccine, which senior leaders feel could be focus of the all-party meeting on Friday too.
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