Though the state power is blaming the general public for not taking precautions to contain the spread of the COVID-19, citing this as the reason for a surge in cases in Maharashtra, the reason is totally different. The allies of the ruling Maha-Vikas-Aghadi should be blamed for the sharp rise of the deadly virus across the state in recent past.
The alliance partners, particularly the Congress as well as the Nationalist Congress Party have held on-ground outreach rallies and public gatherings, attracting large crowds, to expand at the grassroots for the last two months. Its leaders, particularly Nana Patole of Congress, Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar, Praful Patel and Anil Deshmukh (all NCP) were seen several places in the state to rallies and meetings.
The NCP even launched district-wise campaign to strengthen the party. At most of these events, there was no social distancing and many present did not even wear masks. Moreover, seven ministers from the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet have tested Covid-19 positive in this month alone.
And probably, the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray realised it and this led him to request all the political parties to keep themselves distance from processions, rallies and protests.
“I am requesting all political parties, do me a favour, and let us please start from ourselves. From Monday, all political, social and religious processions, rallies, protests that involve crowding, major yatras… We are banning these in the state for the next few days,” Thackeray said.
The chief minister didn’t stop there. He also said, “Yes, we want to expand our parties. Everyone has the right to expand their parties. I also want to grow my party. My allies also want to grow their parties and the opposition party too wants to expand. But let’s expand our parties and not expand the prevalence of Corona.”
The message is very clear. It was purely for Sena’s principal allies, the NCP and the Congress. And of course for the BJP which has been aggressively attacking the state government for its “misdeeds” and failure in all fronts.
In view of such scenario, everyone should expect that the chief minister Thackeray and the Sena would not now blame the common man for increasing the cases of COVID-19. It was again established from the Pohradevi event on Tuesday where a senior Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod reached the temple along with thousands of his supporters, defying all COVID-19 norms and guidelines.
** M Charulata
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