Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s warning of clamping another lockdown in the state in view of the rising coronavirus cases has run into stiff opposition not just from rival BJP but from his ally NCP as well.
Steering a meeting of the COVID-19 Task Force on Sunday, Uddhav directed the administration to start preparing for another lockdown since COVID-19 protocols were not being followed leading to a substantial spike in cases.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar however wasn’t in sync with Uddhav’s proposal of imposing a full lockdown. Opposing the proposal, Maharashtra minister and NCP heavyweight leader Nawab Malik said, “We can’t afford another lockdown in Maharashtra. We’ve asked the CM to consider other options. Due to rising cases, he has directed the administration to prepare for another lockdown, but that doesn’t mean that it is inevitable. If people follow the rules, it can be avoided.”
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BJP also said that a stringent lockdown will be detrimental to the interests of Maharashtra’s lakhs of workers engaged in the unorganised sector. Maharashtra BJP state president Chandrakant Patil said, “Lockdown is not an option at this stage. BJP is going to oppose such a move with all its might. And not only us, but ordinary traders and labourers will be vehemently opposed to it. You can take whatever steps you may wish to check the spread of the contagion, but those living a hand-to-mouth will fight this measure tooth and nail.”
Incidentally, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra too tweeted an appeal to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the same vein.
The problem, @OfficeofUT ji, is that the people a lockdown hurts most are the poor, migrant workers & small businesses. The original lockdowns were essentially to buy time to build up hospital/health infrastructure. Let’s focus on resurrecting that & on avoiding mortality. https://t.co/sRoWonrJEp
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 29, 2021
Tagging the PMO, he also tweeted, “I repeat my plea that the central government should permit Maharashtra to universalise the vaccination eligibility and allow the private sector to partner in the speedy rollout of vaccinations.”