The Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP today had a heated exchange in Parliament over the issue of COVID-19 management, with the AAP terming as "foolish" the Prime Minister's appeal to citizens to clap and beat utensils in honour of "coronavirus warriors".
BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi hit back, saying the Prime Minister's move was only symbolic and sought to unite the country socially just like Mahatma Gandhi chose the symbol of 'charkha' for national cohesion during the freedom struggle.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March asked citizens to clap, beat steel plates and ring bells to express gratitude and show support for those risking their lives and working tirelessly during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, while participating in the debate on COVID-19, further used the occasion to accuse the government of looking for opportunity in times of disaster and alleged corruption in the procurement of equipment to fight the disease including thermometers and oxymetres.
"I want to ask this government, tell me any one research in the world that shows Covid can be prevented by clamping utensils and by clapping," he said, adding that "The entire opposition will not go home, but will clap with the Prime Minister and light 'diyas' in Parliament premises."
"You bring such absurd and foolish schemes and expect the entire country to be befooled by you," the AAP MP said.
Countering him, Mr Trivedi said,"Lighting 'diyas' and beating utensils and clapping were only symbolic in the fight against coronavirus."
"Would the British have run away by the use of the 'charkha' (spinning wheel). The 'charkha' was symbolic which Mahatma Gandhi chose in uniting the country against the British. The same way, PM Modi made the 'diyas' and beating utensils symbolic in bringing together all Indians in the fight against COVID-19," Mr Trivedi asserted.
The BJP MP, without naming Rahul Gandhi, also took a swipe at the former Congress president for his vision of giving an early warning about COVID-19 and said he was himself not even in the country when the Congress was seeking a ban on international flights.
He also countered the opposition charge that the lockdown was not imposed early allegedly because BJP wanted to topple the Madhya Pradesh government of the Congress, saying at that at the time there were only 29 coronavirus cases in the country and not a single case was reported in Madhya Pradesh till then.