Kick-starting the ‘Maharashtra Bachao’ (save Maharashtra) campaign to highlight the State government’s alleged failure to tackle the coronavirus crisis, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday claimed that the State’s health system has completely collapsed.
“Be its inability to tackle the issue of migrant workers or non-availability of ration to the poor, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has totally failed to tackle the crisis. The State is also hiding the actual number of patients, and in some instances, the protocol for disposing of bodies is not being followed,” Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said.
A delegation led by Mr. Fadnavis presented a memorandum to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Fadnavis said at a time when every State is announcing a financial package, Maharashtra is nowhere seen to be doing this. “The Centre has announced a stimulus package worth ₹20 lakh crore and despite that, the State is pointing fingers at the Centre. Isn’t it politics? We are giving our suggestions to the government. How can it be called politics?” asked Mr. Fadnavis.
Slamming Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for writing letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on measures taken to tackle COVID-19, Mr. Fadnavis said instead he should write to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “We are ready to help the State, but it took the government two months to hold a meeting with us. If it does not want help from us, then it should at least implement our suggestions,” he said.
Cong. seeks action
Meanwhile, the Congress attacked the BJP for releasing a month-old video, claiming it to be of patients who are not being provided with quarantine facilities and medical help.
“The campaign launched by the BJP is not to save Maharashtra, but against Maharashtra. The party is using a month-old video to create discontent in public. The State Home Department must take action against the IT cell of the BJP,” Sachin Sawant, State Congress spokesperson, said.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Amit Thackeray on Tuesday wrote to the CM, pointing out that the April 20 order of the Public Health Department reduces the salaries of bonded government doctors by around ₹20,000 a month.
“Most of the countries have increased the salaries of health workers. The need of the hour is to motivate and incentivise our government doctors and nursing staff. They are putting their lives at risk, to safeguard ours. Keeping this in mind, I think the State government’s decision to cut their salaries is unjust and I request the government to ensure no cuts are being made,” Mr. Thackeray said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hit out at the Pune district and the civic administration for failing to rein in the novel coronavirus.
BJP leaders, including Pune MP Girish Bapat and Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, attributed the failure to check the virus in Pune to an alleged lack of coordination between the city’s top authorities. They also accused the MVA government of ‘sidelining’ Pune’s interests.
“Besides the civic administration, seven IAS officers were tasked with controlling the spread of COCID-19 in Pune city. Yet, a stream of contradictory directives being issued by top authorities has left citizens confused,” BJP’s Pune unit president Jagdish Mulik said.
Mr. Bapat alleged that a week ago, the civic administration had announced the distribution of 80,000 packets of rations for residents within Pune’s ‘red zones’.
“Yet only 20,000 were distributed. This compelled citizens who had not availed of the rations to step out and buy essentials as they had no other choice, thus increasing the risk of infection. I urge the administration to immediately arrange for distribution of essentials in these areas,” Mr. Bapat said.
Spike in cases
The city has seen a spike of over 600 new novel coronavirus cases in the last 72 hours, with its total active cases surging to more than 1,650. Mr. Mulik said of these, Sassoon General Hospital had 496 active cases while 115 of the city’s 200-odd fatalities reported thus far had occurred there.
“One in every four COVID-19 patients being treated at Sassoon has succumbed. This is a very high mortality rate indeed. Sassoon’s death count alone has exceeded that of the total fatalities reported in other States like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab,” the BJP leader said. Mr. Bapat said this demonstrated the failure of the local administration as well as that of the State government.
“In protest, 3,000 of our party workers will stand outside their homes on May 22 holding anti-government placards chastising it for its incompetence,” he said.
(With inputs from Shoumojit Banerjee)