New Delhi: Even as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to observe a nine-minute nationwide ‘blackout’ at 9 PM on Sunday his ‘personal matter,’ Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut mocked his appeal, ‘hoping’ that people won’t ‘burn down their houses,’ also asking what the government was doing to ‘improve the condition.’ Also Read - 'Totally Personal Matter, Will Sleep if I Want to,' Says Mamata Banerjee on PM's 'Blackout' Call
Last evening, Raut tweeted: “When people were asked to clap, they crowded the roads and beat drums. I just hope that now they don’t burn down their own houses.’ Also Read - Invoking Power of 9: Viral Messages Claim PM Modi is 'Lighting Energy of Planet' With Diyas to Fight COVID-19
On March 19, in his first address to the nation on the COVID-19 issue, PM Modi had urged citizens to observe a ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22 and, at 5 PM on the day, come on their balconies and applaud, for five minutes, all those who are leading the country’s fight against the pandemic. Also Read - PM Modi's Appeal Rattles Power Sector, Officials Think 9-Minute Blackout Can Cause Grid Collapse
However, videos emerged on social media showing people gather on the streets in large groups, thus defeating the purpose of the one-day voluntary lockdown and nullifying the PM’s advise to exercise ‘social distancing.’
“Sir, diya to jalayenge (we’ll light the lamps), but please also tell us what the government is doing to improve the condition,” Raut’s tweet further stated.
In a bid to keep up the people’s morale in the middle of the ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown, PM Modi had, in his third address to the nation on the coronavirus issue, at 9 AM on Friday, urged people to switch off their lights for nine minutes at 9 PM on April 5, and light candles, lamps, torchlights, mobile flashlights instead.
While the PM’s recommendation was panned by the opposition, it has also triggered concerns over a possible collapse of the country’s national power grid if multiple households were to switch off electricity at the same time.