India’s main opposition party Congress has come down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he addressed the nation on Tuesday, advising states to avoid lockdowns despite the second wave of the novel coronavirus.

The General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee Ajay Maken issued a statement, where he described Modi’s speech as “nothing but empty talk”, alleging that the Prime Minister has left the people to fend for themselves in fighting the pandemic.

“The Prime Minister was expected to tell the nation what has the government has done in terms of increasing beds in hospitals, increasing oxygen output and streamlining supplies, and making drugs like Remdesivir and Tocilizumab available; however, he chose to relinquish all his responsibilities and put the onus of saving India on NGOs, Youth and Baal Mitras (Children).”

​Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also slammed the Prime Minister, saying “The crux of today’s lesson by the Prime Minister at 8.45 p.m. is — nothing is in my hands. People should take care of their lives themselves.” he tweeted in Hindi.

Another Congress spokesman, Jaiveer Shergill, alleged that the crux of Prime Minister’s speech is “You Are On Your Own”.

​Meanwhile, several ministers and parliamentarians labelled PM Modi’s speech as powerful and thanked him for boosting the nation’s morale.

​Modi in his speech emphasised the importance of discipline and patience. He said lockdowns should be the “last resort” in dealing with the raging pandemic. He also asked states to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work and guarantee their lives and livelihood.

“The pharma sector of the country has increased the production of medicines. To increase production, the help of pharmaceutical companies is being sought in every way. We are fortunate that our country has such a strong pharma sector,” he said during his address to the nation. 

The prime minister’s speech came at a time when videos of overcrowded mortuaries and burial sites, and grieving relatives outside overwhelmed hospitals, are circulating on social media, highlighting the literal collapse of the health infrastructure.

On Tuesday, the country reported a record number of deaths and cases registered in a single day. According to the health ministry, India has recorded as many as 2,023 deaths and 295,041 new cases in the past 24 hours.