Prime Minister Narendra Modi has over the past fortnight been reaching out to social influencers to mobilize public opinion in the battle against the covid-19 outbreak. Modi has held more than a dozen meetings via videoconferencing with religious heads and sportspersons, among others.
On Friday, the Prime Minister spoke to 40 sports personalities to discuss ideas on fighting the pandemic and keeping people motivated during the countrywide lockdown.
The list of sportspersons included Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly, cricketers Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, badminton star P.V. Sindhu and sprinter Hima Das.
Modi’s initiative was aimed at making every citizen a stakeholder in the fight against covid-19, said political analysts. The meetings with prominent public personalities were also part of the initiative to send a message to the masses.
“The idea is to reach out to the 130 crore people of the country. Obviously, he cannot speak to everyone. That is why he is talking to social influencers, administration members and chief ministers, while asking people to become a part of this fight and connect with the entire nation by clapping, lighting diyas, torches or flashlights," said Sanjay Kumar, director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
“He is trying to convey to the people that governments, the Prime Minister or chief ministers cannot fight this virus alone, and people should also be a part of this effort," he added.
To contain the surge in positive cases across the country, the Union government had announced a three-week nationwide lockdown beginning 25 March.
The Prime Minister had also interacted with industry representatives on 24 March, radio jockeys on 27 March and members of social welfare organizations on 30 March.
He also interacted with heads of print and television media through videoconferencing.
The Prime Minister has also held regular meetings with senior government officials, chief ministers and healthcare professionals to push forth the Union government’s mobilization strategy to tackle the global pandemic.
To firm up the Centre’s strategy and bring key stakeholders on board, Modi held two rounds of videoconferencing with chief ministers on 20 March and 3 April, as well as with AYUSH professionals on 28 March and with pharmaceutical sector representatives on 21 March.