With novel coronavirus cases in Maharashtra nearing the 40,000 mark, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari reviewed the administration’s measures to arrest the pandemic with top officials at a meeting that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was expected to attend, but skipped at the last moment.
In a clarification sent late at night, the CM Office said Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta attended the review meeting as a representative of Mr. Thackeray.
Shiv Sena secretary Milind Narvekar, however, was present at the review, coming a day after the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led a delegation to the Governor to complain about the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s ‘failure’ to curb COVID-19’s spread in the State.
The BJP has called for a State-wide agitation against the government’s handling of the pandemic, and Mr. Thackeray’s cold shoulder to the review meeting is being seen as a signal of the MVA’s irritation with the constant parleys held by the Opposition at the Governor’s office.
MVA alliance partners, the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress, critiqued the BJP’s strategy. “The BJP’s agitation against the government at a time when the entire State is fighting against the novel coronavirus, is nothing but an insult to every individual who is part of the battle. This agitation of showing black flags, is not only ill-timed but also inexplicable. How can one even think about protesting at a time like this?” Deputy CM Ajit Pawar asked.
Mooting special measures to deal with containment zones like Dharavi, the Governor asked the government to keep enough medical facilities, doctors, staff and beds ready considering the likely case load in the months of June and July.
Mr. Koshyari also urged the government to consider incentivising frontline workers like sanitation workers, police, health workers, and ward boys, who are doing good work in the battle against COVID-19. Additional chief secretary (Home) Sanjay Kumar and DGP Subodh Jaiswal were present at the review along with other senior officials.