Political discourse in Maharashtra continues amid the coronavirus outbreak

Being in the opposition, the BJP in Maharashtra has raised several questions regarding the decisions taken by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Political discourse in Maharashtra continues amid the coronavirus outbreak

The cases for the coronavirus or COVID-19 have been increasing in Maharashtra and the Uddhav Thackeray government is trying hard to keep the situation under control. The state government chalking out and implementing its plan to combat the deadly virus. However, there has been a lot of criticism also regarding how the policies and the implementation of things. 

Due to the unplanned lockdown that had to be imposed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the biggest issue in front of any state government was to tackle the migrant labours that were surviving on daily wages. To help them, Maharashtra government has set up 4,573 relief camps which provide shelter to nearly 5,60,450 migrant workers and labourers stranded in the state due to the lockdown. The Maharashtra government is also providing food to 7,36,939 people who are needy and poor.

However, the movement in the political circle still remains amid the coronavirus outbreak. In Maharashtra, the BJP is the opposition party which has said that they are with the state government during this pandemic. 

Meanwhile, BJP is also raising issues with the decision taken by Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. Moreover, the politics between the ruling and opposition parties still remain. 

Here’s the list of objections and demands made by the BJP in Maharashtra: 

Restriction on Ration cards

Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis earlier raised questions over state government’s decision to provide ration or food grains to ‘Orange’ cardholders.  

Devendra Fadnavis said that the MVA government has carried out an order stating that the Orange cardholders whose annual income is ₹1 lakh will get ration in the month of May and June. However, they require ration during the lockdown.

“Maharashtra government should provide nearly 3.8 crore citizens belonging to the Lower middle class for this months also,” Fadnavis stated. 

Earlier, the Maharashtra cabinet approved the decision to provide food grains along with other essentials at discount for those who possess the 'Kesari' ration card for three months. 

Maharashtra Civil Supplies and Food Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had also said that all ration cardholders will be allowed to get three months of supplies in advance at once. However, the government later decided against it. 

Reacting to this, Fadnavis asked the Maharashtra government to remove these restrictions on availing ration for three months.

Removal of Jitendra Awhad from Maharashtra cabinet

The BJP has also demanded the removal of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra Housing Minister, Jitendra Awhad, from the cabinet post for his alleged role in the physical assault of a man named Anant Karmuse. 

Awhad has denied these claims but the BJP demanded his removal from the Maharashtra cabinet. A delegation led by Fadnavis met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari amid the coronavirus outbreak and demanded the same. 

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya was arrested, for trying to meet Anant Karmuse who he claimed was beaten up by NCP leader Jitendra Awhad’s men at the minister’s residence. 

Karmuse, an engineer by profession, earlier alleged that the policemen took him to NCP leader Jitendra Awhad’s bungalow instead of the police station where the minister’s men thrashed him with a bamboo stick and belt. The man, in his complaint, has also alleged that Jitendra Awhad was also present. 

Karmuse had posted a morphed photo with Jitendra Awhad’s face and a lit-up match stick with a caption, “I protest against the person who has edited the photo.” 

The Wadhawan Family Controversy

The BJP tried to corner the MVA government over the Wadhawan family controversy. The Wadhawan family and their friends, consisting of 23 members, were placed under institutional quarantine by Maharashtra government and two members - Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan - were detained by Mahabaleshwar police and booked for negligence during the lockdown.

The Wadhawan family had taken special permission from the principal secretary (home) Amitabh Gupta to travel to Mahabaleshwar from Khandala on April 9. As this happened, the Maharashtra Government sent IPS Amitabh Gupta on compulsory leave and announced a probe into the matter. 

Fadnavis earlier told that it was not possible that a senior IPS officer would do such mistake on his own despite knowing the consequences. Furthermore, the BJP leader raised questions on the permission granted to Wadhawan family and demanded an explanation from the current government.  

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya also demanded the resignation of Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh stating the minister was responsible for the lapse. 

However, Shiv Sena on Monday defended the MVA government over the issue saying that IPS Amitabh Gupta was appointed by Devendra Fadnavis government. Highlighting that IPS Amitabh Gupta was appointed by Fadnavis during his term as Maharashtra CM, Shiv Sena alleged that this was “conspiracy plot which could not succeed”. 

Not Serious about Healthcare Workers

The BJP also targeted the Maharashtra Government over its non-seriousness about the healthcare workers and the migrant labourers and workers who can’t buy ration. Fadnavis raised this issue with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari while stating that the protocols for hospitals are not activated and some hospitals had to be temporarily shutdown. 

Fadnavis claimed that the normal and coronavirus patients were getting mixed in the hospital. LoP Devendra Fadnavis also stated that MVA government was completely dependent on kits that the centre has supplied them while adding that such kits are available in the market and people were privately buying these kits. 

These kits are being privately bought and supplied to the health staff. The state government is not buying them, Fadnavis added. 

MVA Government failed to trace Tablighi Jamaat members

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has also targeted the Maharashtra government over its failure to trace members of Tablighi Jamaat who attended the religious congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz. 

Earlier, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh attacked Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with the central government for allowing the religious gather in Delhi which has become one of the hotspots for the coronavirus or COVID-19. Deshmukh said that if Maharashtra could cancel a similar event in Navi Mumbai, why did the central government gave permission for the same? 

Reacting to this, Fadnavis stated that this was a divisionary tactic adopted by Deshmukh to hide the failure of his ministry in tracing the Delhi-returned Tablighi Jamaat members. 

The BJP earlier also submitted a memorandum to the Maharashtra Governor demanding action against Deshmukh for the same.

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