NEW DELHI: Messaging is most important in a pandemic. That is where PM Modi scores over most world leaders, especially the likes of President Trump.
No one understands better than him that leaders cannot manage pandemics without taking citizens into confidence. So, even as he ran the risk of being chided by the Opposition for repeating himself ad nauseam, the prime minister did not shy from telling the nation that though the lockdown is gone, the lethal virus still lurks in our midst and there is no room for complacency.
Even more so now, since this is the onset of the festival season when the nation is likely to let its guard down.
In a 10-minute address to the nation, PM Modi underscored time and again that people should not be reckless and careless, smug in the belief that there is no more danger from the virus. At the same time, keen to dispel the feeling of gloom and doom, he said it was heartening that the economy is slowly recovering and so are the markets.
Not just that, health parameters are also looking up, given the relatively better recovery rate in India. The fatalities at 83 per million are much less compared to that in developed countries like the United States, Brazil, France and Britain, which have witnessed as many as 600 deaths per million.
He underlined that India has been successful in saving the maximum number of lives with over 90 lakh hospital beds, 12,000 quarantine centres and 2000 labs at its disposal. The tests, too, will shortly cross the 10 crore population threshold.
Looking at the future, he said the government is doing the ground work, so that every Indian can access the vaccine as soon as it arrives in the market. The PM delved into the past and cited the mystic 15th century poet Kabir and quoted from the 16th century epic Ramcharitmahas of Tulsidas to bring home the message that the nation should not relax until the vaccine is available.