'BJP is deliberately creating a state of instability, confusion,' says MVA

Updated: May 28, 2020, 07:05 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

The coalition said the Opposition was scheming against the government at a time when all political parties should unite to tackle the global health crisis

Migrants wait at LTT for a train to Bihar on Tuesday night. Pic/Sameer Markande
Migrants wait at LTT for a train to Bihar on Tuesday night. Pic/Sameer Markande

Senior ministers of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Wednesday accused the BJP of deliberately creating a sense of political instability and confusion in the state. The coalition said the Opposition was scheming against the government at a time when all political parties should unite to tackle the global health crisis.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, Transport Minister Anil Parab held a meeting with senior officials and police top brass at the CM's official residence earlier in the day to review the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Later, addressing a press conference, Patil of NCP, Parab of Shiv Sena and Thorat of Congress countered BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis's allegations that the MVA failed at mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. Fadnavis had, on Tuesday, blamed the MVA government of mismanagement of pandemic and suggested that it should seek Centre's help to raise funds. He also denied the government's allegation that Centre wasn't doing enough for Maharashtra.

Maha doing better than Guj
The ministers told reporters that the situation in Maharashtra was much better than the BJP-ruled states, like Gujarat where the COVID-19 mortality rate was much higher.

Parab refuted ex-CM's claim that the Centre has already given the state over R28,000 crore for its fight against the pandemic."Fadnavis should not create a false impression about the government and defend the Centre that hasn't given us anything apart from what the state deserved by way of the current schemes. In fact, we haven't even received the pending dues. Of R28,000 crore, we have received merely R6,000 crore."

Patil, who has presented a record number of budgets for successive governments in Maharashtra, said Fadnavis's suggestion of accepting R1.65 lakh crore from the central package was not feasible because of the conditions imposed by the Centre. "We can't reform our welfare schemes and labour laws as per the Centre's whims because that, if done, would deny farmers, labourers and the poor their social and economic security."

'Can't follow anti-poor terms'
"We can't follow in the footsteps of the BJP that prefers America-like capitalism to benefit a select few. Fadnavis should understand this and tell his party bosses to get rid of such anti-poor terms," Patil added.

He also pointed to the chaos the Centre's actions caused across the city. "We asked the railways for 48 trains, but they sent us 152 trains for a day. How can we arrange so many migrants to board these many trains in such a short time?" Patil asked.

The NCP leader also accused Fadnavis of underestimating the youth of Maharashtra by saying they lacked skills and hence, they wouldn't be the ideal replacement for the workforce that has migrated due to the pandemic.

Their claims false: Fadnavis
Responding to this, Fadnavis in a webcast later said, "I welcomed the job for sons of the soil but also said that the youth of Maharashtra must be given skill education to replace the migrated skilled workers. Is it wrong? It needs just one person to say the truth, but the falsehood needs three persons to be told convincingly. The BJP would continue to counter what is untrue," he said.

Patil also dismissed Fadanvis's claim that the Centre has given enough PPEs, N95 masks and other equipment to Maharashtra. "We didn't receive PPE till May 21. We haven't got a single ventilator so far," he said.

However, Fadnavis stood by his claim and said that the Centre did give the state 9 lakh PPEs and 16 lakh N95 respirator masks by May 26. The ex-CM also said that he didn't expect them to pat their own back when Maharashtra has reported 33 per cent of country's COVID-19 cases and 40 per cent deaths.

'Stop making personal attacks'
During the press meet, Patil had suggested that instead of making personal attacks, Fadnavis should call up the CM Uddhav Thackeray "with suggestions or to protest". "Fadnavis enjoys a good bond with both, Thackeray and Ajit Pawar".

The ministers will again review the situation on May 29 and a decision will be taken on the basis of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's next declaration, said Patil. "If the lockdown isn't extended, we are thinking of relaxing the restrictions further in non-red zones," he added.

Thackeray, who didn't attend the Wednesday meeting, received a phone call from Rahul Gandhi who assured him of his party's full support, a day after his statement that Congress wasn't a key decision-maker in Maharashtra led to speculation that all is not well in the coalition.

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