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Chandrababu Naidu calls PM Modi a statesman in first phone call after polls

In his first telephone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the bitterly fought elections a year ago, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu lauded him for taking a bold and statesman-like decision to extend lockdown.

Naidu said Modi was giving priority to saving the lives of people despite deepening economic crisis in the country.

Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister, who had bitterly criticized Modi during the election campaign, revealed on Tuesday that last night he called up Modi. "Today 8.30 a.m. I received a call back from the Prime Minister and we discussed the way forward in the fight against COVID-19," he said.

"I told the PM that under his efficient leadership, the right decision was made on lockdown-1. That helped India stand in the forefront of the battle against the virus. Many other countries are facing problems. You are building national consensus in the right spirit. Now testing should be increased and people should be prepared for the future struggle," the TDP chief told a news conference.

Naidu said that the whole world is shaken in this battle against the 'invisible enemy' even as 20 lakh people contracted the virus globally till today, while 1.15 lakh patients had lost their lives. Had Modi not announced lockdown-1, India's positive cases would have gone up to 8 lakh as per a forecast as against the present 10,500 reported from all over the country till now, he said

Naidu recalled how the PM asserted no compromise in sternly implementing the lockdown-2 though relaxations would begin after April 20 for the sake of helping the poor and to make essential commodities available. At the same time, if virus spread is noticed, the toughest restrictions would be implemented in those areas.

The infection transmission is very rapid in India as the first thousand cases were reported in 59 days, the second thousand cases in 3 days and the third thousand cases in two days with total reaching 10,450 now.

Naidu expressed concern over the economic blow which has led to a spectrum of socio-economic and psychological problems that require a lot of courage and discipline to successfully stand against the 'unknown killer'. Even a super power like the US is totally shaken and not able to handle Coronavirus. The world's commercial capital of New York lies shattered with officials left alone to bury the dead with no family members turning up.

The leader of opposition accused Jaganmohan Reddy government of adopting a "strange attitude". Naidu cautioned that it was no time for petty political advantages when other states and countries were vigorously fighting against the deadly disease. While the PM has announced lockdown-2 despite serious economic problems, AP State Election Commissioner asking his staff to prepare for elections is wrong and incorrect, he added.

Naidu said the AP government should deliver essential services to the doorstep of poor families just like in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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