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Country needs breath, not PM's residence: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, May 09: Hitting out at the Centre for continuing the construction work for the Central Vista redevelopment project amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the country needs breath and not the prime minister's residence.

Rahul Gandhi

The redevelopment project of the Central Vista - the power corridor of the country - envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a common Central Secretariat, the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president.

The government has brought the construction work for the ambitious project under the ambit of "essential services" to ensure smooth movement of labourers during the ongoing lockdown in Delhi.

"The country needs breath, not the prime minister's residence," Gandhi said in a tweet, sharing pictures of people standing in a queue for refilling oxygen cylinders and the construction work for the Central Vista project on Rajpath.

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Amid rising COVID-19 cases, several states have been facing a crippling shortage of oxygen, leaving hospitals and family members of patients scrambling to ensure a steady supply.

Gandhi and his Congress party have been asking the government to shelve its plans on the Central Vista project and give priority to improving the country's medical infrastructure amid the COVID-19 pandemic to save people's lives.

The opposition party has also criticised the Centre for according the construction work for the Central Vista project the "essential services" tag and accused the government of having its priorities wrong.

In another tweet, Gandhi said the pandemic is spreading fast in rural areas.

"After cities, now villages are also dependent on God," the former Congress president tweeted in Hindi.

On Sunday, India recorded 4,03,738 fresh COVID-19 cases that pushed the tally to 2,22,96,414 while 4,092 more fatalities took the death toll to 2,42,362, according to the Union health ministry.

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