Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad ripped into Rahul Gandhi today, accusing the Congress leader of spreading disinformation and playing the politics of opportunism. He also questioned if Mr Gandhi's allegations are just a ruse to escape responsibility for the situation in Maharashtra -- the state has the maximum number of coronavirus cases in the country.
Rahul Gandhi, the Minister said, has been making accusations against the Prime Minister. He criticised it when the Prime Minister asked people to clap from balconies for health workers and when he asked that lamps be lit for them.
"With this, Rahul Gandhi is boosting the morale of only of those who want to divide the nation," Mr Prasad said.
The Congress leader, he said, has also criticised the Indian Council of Medical Research, the nodal agency in the way against coronavirius. He has been tweeting about petrol and diesel, when their price was hiked in Congress-ruled states. He has not even spared the "corona warriors", the minister said.
The BJP's rejoinder came a day after Mr Gandhi, in a virtual media conference, had said contrary to the government's expectations, even four phases of lockdown has not been enough to contain the coronavirus.
"India is the only nation where the coronavirus cases have been rising exponentially despite a lockdown, Mr Gandhi said. "We want to ask the government, what is their strategy as far as India's opening up is concerned and what precautions they are going to take, how are they thinking and how they are going to support the migrants and our states?" he added.
He also expressed apprehension that if the lockdown is lifted without any concrete plan, the country will face a second wave of coronavirus which will be "extremely devastating".
Asked about the situation in Maharsahtra, where Congress is part of the ruling alliance and the government, Mr Gandhi had said there is a difference between running the government and supporting a government.
"We are supporting Maharashtra government, but we are not in the key decision-making role in Maharashtra," he had said, adding that Maharashtra requires full support of the central government as the state is fighting a very difficult battle.