A 21-day lockdown was announced on March 24 by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to control the spread of the novel coronavirus that was rapidly increasing in the nation. It was termed as a bold move where the Prime Minister said that these 21 days were crucial and softly warned the nation that if a 21-days lockdown is not imposed, the country might go back 21 years. The three-week lockdown then turned to a month and the month further extended by 30 days and the rest is history.
But was lockdown necessary? Probably not. Be it the scale of mal execution of lockdown or the unpreparedness of the country to deal with an economic crunch, it becomes more clear that the lockdown was not meant for India. The lockdown began relaxing from May 31 and by then India and its leaders knew that lockdown had done no good and in fact increased the burden on the economy even further, leaving politicians either clueless or ignorant of the situation. But the decision to implement the lockdown by Modi was far more politically inclined than for humanitarian purposes.
The only agenda that was behind the curfew was image creation. The image that Modi or the thinkers of the BJP party wanted to portray that showed Modi as a very strong, compelling, and fearless leader who is willing to risk the economy and jobs and security of thousands of migrant workers to implement lockdown. The idea here was not to curb the spread of the virus because if it would have been the agenda, the center would not have functioned without a plan. From the moment the lockdown was announced, it was clear that the decision has been made in a haste.
By April, it was evident that the pandemic was here to stay (ignoring the fact that the government was already aware of the virus attack in January) but still arrangements for the migrants and the people who suffered job losses were not made. This made people come on the road, in large numbers, very conveniently branching the safety regulations of the World Health Organisation.
It was a journey of misinformation passed on from the center to the public which increased confusion among people regarding the impact of the virus. For example, a member of NITI Ayog, Vinod Paul, openly said in a media conference that there will be no new cases from May 16, which we believed only to be left shocked with the intensity of increasing new cases per day. Even the PM somehow was ignorant of the single most important thing required to identify cases–testing. He extended the lockdown thrice but did not consider testing as an option. He rather trusted a Mahabharat story to disseminate false hopes among the people and promoted coronavirus, a petty enemy of humankind.
Nevertheless, handling rather mishandling of coronavirus in India strangely improved the image of Modi in and out of the country where he successfully established himself as the risk-taking, spontaneous prime minister, who makes a life-changing decision out of thin air and still manages to get away with it.
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