PM Modi chairs all-party meeting on COVID-19 situation


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday chaired an all-party meeting with leaders of various political outfits and top union ministers to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country, sources said.

Floor leaders from all parties in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been invited to attend the virtual meeting which started around 10:30 am.

About 12 leaders from prominent political parties having five or more than five MPs, will be speaking at the meeting, the sources said.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad will speak on behalf of the Congress in the meeting. Sudip Bandyopadhyay from the TMC, Sharad Pawar of the NCP, Nama Nageswara Rao from the TRS and Vinayak Raut from the Shiv Sena among others will also speak during the meeting, they said.

Opposition leaders are also expected to question the government about the expected availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and plans for its distribution, the sources said.

This will be the second all-party meeting called by the government to discuss the COVID-19 situation since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are present in the meeting.

Besides them, Parliamentary Affairs Ministers Pralhad Joshi and ministers of state in the same ministry Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan, who reached out to floor leaders for the meeting, will also be a part of it.

The meeting is likely to begin with a presentation by the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan. The presentation would explain India’s fight against the pandemic so far.

The meeting also assumes significance as it is being held after Modi’s visit to pharmaceutical companies in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review coronavirus vaccine development work there.