Maharashtra, where the Congress is part of the government, has backed lockdown, with the state dispensation extending it to April 30 before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement on April 14 to stretch it nation-wide till May 3. Punjab, where the Congress is in power, had also extended the lockdown before Modi's announcement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
earlier strongly pitched for aggressively expanding coronavirus
testing across the country and adopting it as a "strategic" instrument to "defeat" the pandemic. He said the lockdown is not a solution to the pandemic, and the time must be utilised to significantly bolster the existing medical infrastructure as well as take steps to deal with the worrying economic fallout. He further asked that states be given more power in the battle against the deadly illness, adding that a "blunt instrument" should not be used and what is needed is a "nuanced" and strategic approach.
Addressing a press conference via video conference, Gandhi also said the entire country has to fight the crisis "unitedly".
From its Twitter handle, the BJP also put out data to assert that India has managed to "significantly contain" COVID-19 as compared to other severely hit countries, at just nine cases per one million of population and 0.3 deaths per one million population.
The nationwide lockdown was extended till May 3 after the announcement by the PM as states called for the extension to check the rapid spread of the viral infection which has claimed over 300 lives in India.