Health Secretary to brief floor leaders on COVID-19; 'Constructive opposition prevails', says TMC leader

NEW DELHI: The Union Health Secretary will address floor leaders of political parties on COVID-19 on Tuesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien said here, terming it as a victory of a “constructive Opposition” which had insisted that the PM’s address on the issue should be before Parliament.

At an all-party meeting on Sunday, opposition parties had objected to the government’s offer for a joint address by Modi to all floor leaders on COVID-19 in a building in the Parliament complex, saying this will be “highly irregular” at a time when Parliament was in session and claimed it was intended to “bypass” norms.

Opposition leaders, including from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the CPI(M), also said that when the pandemic and issues related to it can be discussed on the floor of the House, what was the need to go “outside”.

“#Parliament. Constructive Opposition prevails. At all-party meet Parliamentary Affairs Minister announced. PM would make presentation on #COVID19 in a conference room’. We insisted any statement by PM must be inside Parliament. Now been informed HEALTH SECRETARY TO ADDRESS MEET in august presence of PM’.Ok (sic),” O’ Brien tweeted.

He also said that the opposition parties would like to hear the PM speak on the pandemic and the other issues in Parliament.

“Dear Prime Minister, Sir. We so want to see you in #Parliament We so want to hear you in both Houses.”

“Tell us about key issues #COVID19 #PriceHike #FarmersProtest #economy #federalism and more. Please don’t book conference halls in the neighbourhood. Parliament is supreme,” he tweeted.

The health secretary will address the leaders at 6 PM and is also expected to show presentations on the pandemic and how it was managed, sources said.