Ajit Pawar accuses Centre of double standards: Says yatras could lead to spike in Covid cases

Published on Aug 29, 2021 09:38 PM IST

PUNE Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, speaking on Sunday in Pune, said that on the one hand the central government is asking Maharashtra to take care given the rising number of Covid cases in Kerala, but on the other hand it is asking newly inducted union ministers from the state to undertake rallies where crowds are gathering

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PUNE Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, speaking on Sunday in Pune, said that on the one hand the central government is asking Maharashtra to take care given the rising number of Covid cases in Kerala, but on the other hand it is asking newly inducted union ministers from the state to undertake rallies where crowds are gathering.

The NCP leader alleged that ongoing wide Jan Ashirwad (blessings of people) yatras of the BJP are happening despite there being a danger of a spike in Covid cases.

Ajit Pawar said, “On one hand the central government is asking us to take care (of Covid cases) and on the other hand it is asking the four newly inducted ministers (from Maharashtra) to take out rallies. People are gathering at these rallies, which will obviously affect the cases.”

Pawar, who interacted with the media in Pune on the side-lines of a meeting held to discuss the PMRDA’s draft development plan, was reacting to BJP leader Narayan Rane’s criticism of the MVA government

“Wherever these rallies are taking place and gatherings are happening, we will see the effect (of increased cases) in the coming days. Though we are of the opinion that cases should not increase, but still if it happens at these places where rallies are taking place, who shall be held responsible? This must be considered as well,” Pawar said.

Reacting to Rane’s arrest, Ajit Pawar said the newly inducted union minister should have behaved more responsibly and avoided unnecessary provocation.

The BJP’s nation-wide Jan Ashirwad Yatra began earlier this month to enable newly inducted ministers in the recent cabinet expansion to reach out to people.

Earlier on Friday, the deputy CM also sought to downplay a controversy involving Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab’s purported commented in a video that went viral, in which he was seen instructing the Ratnagiri police to arrest Rane immediately and use force if necessary.

“The arrest happened only after all the legal proceedings took place. His (Rane) supporters had moved court seeking anticipatory bail which was rejected. I haven’t seen the videos, but as a guardian minister of Ratnagiri District, he (Parab) must have been contacted by the police and he asked them to follow the law,” Pawar informed.

Rane, a recently sworn-in union minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) was arrested earlier last week for his controversial comments against chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. He has since been granted bail.

Pawar said currently the country’s highest number of Covid cases are coming from Kerala. “After some festival celebrations, cases have increased there. We have upcoming festivities such as Dahi handi, Ganesh utsav, Navratri and Diwali, which are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. If a mass gathering happens or Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed, then Covid cases will increase.”

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