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Amit Shah meets PM Modi to discuss lockdown extension

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Home Minister Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the future strategy for India’s fight against coronavirus pandemic and resumption of economic activities amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country. The development comes a day after he spoke to various chief ministers and sought their feedback on the road ahead, as lockdown 4.0 is due to end on Sunday.

On Thursday, the home minister had asked chief ministers for their feedback on the lockdown and their views on whether to extend it after May 31.

All chief ministers have given their views on how they want to move forward. Over the last few days, the Prime Minister’s Office has been reviewing the entire lockdown period to decide on the way forward from June 1.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, after his conversation with Shah, claimed a possibility of the lockdown being extended by two more weeks.

The government has been concerned about sharp criticism of its strategy to counter coronavirus, which has pushed it to change its stance on several occasions.

Home Ministry sources said the way forward on the lockdown “would be a political call”.

The government’s options include continuing with the National Disaster Management Act, which empowers the Centre to take all the decisions regarding health, which is a state subject. Or, it can allow the states to have a final call on how they wish to proceed.

During the last extension of the lockdown in mid-May, the government had allowed extensive relaxations, leaving it to states to decide on what to reopen and what stays shut.

Before lockdown 4.0 was announced, PM Modi held discussions with chief ministers in a virtual meeting.

367 new cases, 22 deaths take Guj COVID-19 numbers to 15,572; fatalities at 960