After a series of public spats between the Shiv Sena and BJP, where both sides had a heated exchange of words over issues ranging from farmer suicides to LED streetlights, senior leaders from both parties came forward and buried the hatchet.
“Devendra [Fadnavis] called me and told me he will support our endeavour. I told him there are no differences between us and we need to do what we have promised the people before the elections. If we all work together, Maharashtra will be the number one state in the country,” Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said at the inauguration of the Shiv Aarogya Seva, a telemedicine project, launched at Bandra on Monday.
Under the project, a panel of 25 specialised doctors sitting in Mumbai will attend to patients in the interiors of Melghat and Mokhada areas of the state through local doctors with the help of V-Sat. Critical medical reports, including X-rays and ECGs, will be sent over the internet real-time.
On Sunday, Fadnavis called upon Uddhav extending the state government’s support for the program. He also sent his emissary — a senior health official from Mantralaya — to read out his message at the function on Monday, where he extended support to the project.
According to sources, the BJP camp had gotten feelers that the Sena was miffed and was thus launching ‘Shiv Aarogya’, Uddhav’s dream project, in its personal capacity and not through the government, despite the fact that public health minister Deepak Sawant is from their party.
For now, Fadnavis wants to avoid rubbing Uddhav the wrong way, especially with the government completing its first hundred days this week, and the Delhi elections, which are around the corner.
Sources said he has promised Uddhav that a coordination committee between the two parties will be formed soon to iron out issues that keep arising between them and to avoid such war of words in public domain.
When Uddhav was asked by media persons why the project was not being launched under the state government’s health department, his answer was not convincing. “We cannot wait for the state government to do everything. Even we have some duties, and this service was a part of the promises I had made before the elections, which I need to fulfil in my capacity as Sena chief,” he said.
However, Sawant said the service, which will initially begin with the Shiv Sena, can later be taken over by the state government and replicated on a larger scale. As of now the camps will take place thrice a week, for two hours every day.