“Dear Hemant Soren…”: Jagan Reddy’s Response To Row Over PM Phone Call

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'Dear Hemant Soren...': Jagan Reddy's Response To Row Over PM Phone Call

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Reddy tweeted on the phone call row (File)

New Delhi:

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday joined union ministers and BJP leaders in defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren aimed a dig at the Prime Minister over a phone conversation on the Covid pandemic in his state.

However, while the BJP’s responses were predictably furious, Mr Reddy’s was measured; the YSR Congress chief urged his Jharkhand counterpart to not “indulge in politics that would only weaken our nation” and asked him to “come together and strengthen” the centre’s pandemic response.

“Dear Hemant Soren, I have great respect for you… but as a brother I would urge you, no matter what ever our differences are, indulging in such level of politics would only weaken our own nation. In this war against COVID-19, these are the times not to point fingers but to come together and strengthen the hands of our Prime Minister to effectively combat the pandemic,” he tweeted.

Mr Soren’s irritable comment came after the Prime Minister, on Thursday, had a phone call with the leaders of Odisha, Telangana and Jharkhand. Jagan Mohan Reddy was part of that call.

“Today, respected Prime Minister called. He only spoke his “Mann Ki Baat“. It would have been better if he would have talked business and listened to the issues,” the Jharkhand Chief Minister tweeted in Hindi after the call, referring to PM Modi’s monthly radio spot, loosely translated as “from the heart”.

Mr Soren was “unhappy” as he was not allowed to speak about his concerns and it was only the Prime Minister who talked, a report by news agency PTI said, quoting official sources.

The post provoked furious responses from BJP leaders and supporters.

“Your tweet is not just against minimum decorum but is also a mockery of the pain of the people of your state, for whom the Prime Minister called you. You have pulled a despicable stunt. You have lowered the dignity of the Chief Minister’s post,” Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote in Hindi.

“Hemant Soren is a failed Chief Minister. Failure in governance. Failure in tackling COVID in the state. Failure to assist people. To hide his failures he demeans the office he holds. Wake up and work, Mr. Soren. The clock is ticking,” tweeted Jharkhand BJP leader Babulal Marandi.

The Congress – a member of the ruling alliance in Jharkhand – has backed Mr Soren.

“It is a very serious and worrying that even at this time, the Prime Minister only wants to talk, not listen,” party leader Pawan Khera wrote.

Earlier today Congress chief Sonia Gandhi – at the opening day of the party’s parliamentary panel meeting – attacked the centre over its Covid response.

Jharkhand is among 10 states and union territories that account for over 75 per cent of the daily COVID-19 deaths in the country, government data says. The others are Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Jharkhand reported 141 Covid deaths on Thursday and 5,770 cases. The mortality rate in the state remains higher at 1.28 per cent against the national mortality rate of 1.10 per cent.

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