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Fadnavis has a message for Uddhav: Take tough calls, BJP is behind you

Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis says opposition will not hurt govt’s efforts but calls for better coordination between ministers & stricter enforcement of lockdown. 

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Mumbai: With Maharashtra staring at possible community transmission of Covid-19 cases, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said he will not oppose any decision of his ally-turned-rival, incumbent Uddhav Thackeray, in tackling the spread, adding that he will work with him “as a team”.

The state opposition leader, however, slammed the Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government, comprising the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), for lack of coordination among ministers, saying they should keep the chief minister informed about their decisions.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader was speaking to ThePrint in a telephonic interview Thursday.

“Whatever our political differences may be, we are together when it comes to tackling this crisis. I will not criticise the government in any way,” Fadnavis said. “If there are any suggestions and improvements, I will reach out to them.

“Today’s condition is not one to create divisions of Centre and state, or ruling party and opposition. Today’s condition is about how we can face the crisis together. We can introspect on any shortcomings later,” he said, adding he has had two telephonic conversations with Thackeray. “I assured him, take any tough decision needed. We will be behind you as a team.”

Maharashtra has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country so far, accounting for 335 of the total 2,301 cases.

There are also concerns of a silent community transmission taking place in the state with sporadic cases being recorded of patients with no travel history or contact with Covid-19-affected persons testing positive.

“The rate at which cases in Maharashtra are increasing, especially in a congested place like Mumbai and finding a case in a place like Dharavi, is like knocking at the doors of community transmission,” Fadnavis said. “Although we can’t say today whether there will be community transmission or not, we will have to be prepared for it and speedily create quarantine facilities and prepare hospitals.”

He urged the state government to extensively use shut schools, colleges, malls and vacant residential buildings to build quarantine facilities.

Also read: Uddhav Thackeray is winning over even his critics with calm demeanour and strong decisions

Lack of coordination among ministers

The former CM said there was no coordination between ministers from the three parties that comprise the Maharashtra government, adding that this is leading to conflicting decisions and confusion. All ministers as well as Deputy CM Ajit Pawar need to keep CM Thackeray informed about any decisions and announcements, Fadnavis said.

“I can’t see any coordination between these parties running the government. While taking any decision and making any announcements, all ministers and the deputy CM must inform the CM,” he said. “The CM too should constantly be in conversation with the main ministers and ensure collective decision-making. Otherwise we can see controversies in decisions every day,” he added.

“Some decision is made and then taken back. In some cases, we see that the CM is unaware of a decision or the minister concerned doesn’t know what has been said.”

For instance, Fadnavis said, the handing out of ration has been extremely chaotic due to conflicting decisions and that he discussed this with Thackeray Thursday. Maharashtra’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Chhagan Bhujbal had last week assured three months of advance ration supplies for all cardholders. However, the state government later cited logistical constraints in implementing it.

“First confusion is, the Centre directed three months of free ration supplies to be given. We are giving supplies for a month,” Fadnavis said. “One can imagine that there could be logistical issues. In that there’s a condition that those who have taken regular ration until now will be given rations, but it’s possible that people who didn’t need to take ration earlier will need it now.”

For those stranded without ration cards, Fadnavis said he has requested the government to accept Aadhar cards, and where they are not available, draw up lists of such people and get them certified by a government authority.

Also read:With social boycott and fines, Covid-19 is the new ‘untouchability’ in Maharashtra villages

‘Thackeray govt needs to get its priorities right’

Fadnavis criticised the state government for “failing to get its priorities right,” with certain departments still releasing funds for capital infrastructure works, while salaries of government employees are being deferred amid the 21-day lockdown.

“On one hand the government is deferring salaries of government workers but on the other hand, releasing irrigation, PWD funds. There are no irrigation or PWD works that can happen now so there’s no point in releasing funds for it right now. What is the government’s priority exactly?” he asked.

“The ministers who are powerful are taking funds for their own departments and the social sector is being deprived of funds,” Fadnavis said, adding every paisa should be used to fight coronavirus while trying to optimise use of resources.

Also read: Indore doctor returns for coronavirus screening day after mob attack, says I’m not afraid

‘Need stricter enforcement of lockdown’

The BJP leader said the lockdown is not being followed in entirety in Maharashtra and urged the state government to take a strong stand regarding this to prevent community transmission of Covid-19.

He called for the government to decentralise essential supplies by taking them to people’s doorstep to ensure a complete lockdown.

“While using force and beating up people is not appropriate, the police will have to take stricter action to ensure a lockdown. There are entire mohallas where people are defying the lockdown,” Fadnavis said.

He added that reserve police battalions should be stationed in such areas. “The police can also march there in the morning. It creates a psychological effect,” the former CM said. “From that point of view, physical oppression by the police is not right but some strict action should be taken.”

“Ultimately fear of law will have to be created in people’s minds,” Fadnavis said. “Otherwise 90 per cent people will stay and home and 10 per cent people will break the lockdown and spread the disease, which is an injustice to the 90 per cent who are staying at home.”

Also read: For global airline industry, Covid-19 crisis is going to be bigger than 9/11 aftermath



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  1. Devendra phadnavis is very restless as he is powerless now, BJP had predicted mahavikas
    agahadi government will fall within 11 days months have passed the government is functioning well. By hook or crook BJP wants to be in power in centre and In all the states

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