Coronavirus outbreak: Uddhav Thackeray leads the way, drives himself around without security personnel

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 07:30 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

Setting an example, Uddhav Thackeray has been driving himself around

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has not used the services of his driver since the outbreak. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has not used the services of his driver since the outbreak. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recently stated that his government is not stopping people from living, but is just changing their lifestyle a bit. He has shown by example how he has done it.

The CM made this statement when the government announced the shutdown and asked people to maintain social distancing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changing lifestyle is visible for the CM himself too. Off late Thackeray is seen driving his personal vehicle without a government official or security personnel in it. If at all there is anyone in it, it is his son Aaditya — who holds the environment portfolio in the Thackeray-led MVA government. In fact Aaditya even takes the back seat instead of the vacant front seat next to his father. A senior Sena leader told mid-day, "The CM is himself leading the way when it comes to taking precautions like social distancing."

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seen driving his own car on his way to attend a meeting at the civic headquarters. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seen driving his own car on his way to attend a meeting at the civic headquarters. Pic/Suresh Karkera

"Usually people are not used to seeing the CM personally driving. But, Thackeray Sr has been doing this for the past few days. Even Sena critics have called me and appreciated the way Thackeray Sr is handling the situation in a calm, composed and down-to-earth manner," he added.

Last year when Shiv Sena President Thackeray agreed to helm the tri party – Sena-Congress-NCP led MVA – many in political circles and the journalist fraternity had apprehensions. But, Thackeray Sr with no legislative and administrative experience, has in nearly four months won the hearts of several opponents and critics. "The way Thackeray has handled the situation, especially with a daily public address to apprise citizens about the situation, and remove the fear of the common man about a shortage of food and essential supplies, has really gone down well with many. Slowly people have started acknowledging Thackeray's work and there is a change in the perception of the Sena chief and CM's image," the key Sena functionary close to Matoshree added.

"On every occasion Uddhav Thackeray has proved his critics wrong and emerged a successful leader. This time too, he has passed the litmus test. Thackeray, while addressing citizens of the state, uses local words like 'mahamari' and language that common man understands instead of Coronavirus. Now by driving his car and maintaining social distance, Thackeray has shown that he practices what he is preaching," said Prakash Joshi, a veteran political scribe. Santosh Pradhan, political editor of a Marathi daily opined, "The CM is taking minute details of the COVID-19 situation. Gauging the gravity of the crisis early has helped him be in complete command of it."

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