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Home / India News / Maharashtra BJP launches protests against govt’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic

Maharashtra BJP launches protests against govt’s handling of Covid-19 pandemic

Two months after the first coronavirus case was identified in the state and a week after CM Uddhav Thackeray secured his nomination to the Legislative Council, the BJP announced that it would no longer stay quiet and spoke out against the government’s “ineffectual” tackling of the pandemic.

india Updated: May 22, 2020 18:13 IST
HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis along with his party leaders participates in a ‘Save Maharashtra’ agitation against the state government for its failure to handle the Covid-19 pandemic at Nariman Point in Mumbai on Friday.
Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis along with his party leaders participates in a ‘Save Maharashtra’ agitation against the state government for its failure to handle the Covid-19 pandemic at Nariman Point in Mumbai on Friday. (ANSHUMAN POYREKAR/HT PHOTO.)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) versus the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) battle was on full public display on Friday as the former held its ‘Maharashtra Bachao’ (Save Maharashtra) agitation, with party workers across the state in black masks, unfurled banners slamming the Thackeray-led government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two months after the first coronavirus case was identified in the state and a week after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray secured his nomination to the Legislative Council, the BJP announced that it would no longer stay quiet and spoke out against the government’s “ineffectual” tackling of the pandemic.

As part of its agitation, state BJP unit party workers were seen in social and broadcast media shouting slogans against the Thackeray government, holding placards in a symbolic protest. The protests were held outside their homes, state, district and city party offices in a move to roll out a campaign and to generate a sentiment against the government.

The BJP has also demanded an independent fiscal package worth Rs 50,000 crore for farmers, daily wage earners in the state to combat Covid-19.

The Shiv Sena and other ruling parties did not take this lightly and slammed the Opposition for playing politics amidst a full blown disaster. They also hit back on social media. And, by late afternoon on social media, both the BJP’s ‘Maharashtra Bachao’ and the state Congress’ ‘Maharashtra Drohi’ (Maharashtra’s traitors) were viral but the former was lagging behind the latter.

“The maximum number of coronavirus cases and maximum deaths are in Maharashtra. The public health system has completely collapsed due to the state government’s failures. For how long can we co-operate with the government. How much can the people tolerate?” asked Fadnavis, who protested along with his party colleagues outside the state BJP office.

A day earlier, Fadnavis had upped the ante targeting Thackeray directly as someone who was new and made “strategic failures” as he lacked “administrative experience”.

The former CM has also alleged that the state and the city have reduced testing of patients in a bid to bring down the Covid-19 positive cases. He has alleged that despite having a capacity of conducting 10,000 tests, the BMC was conducting only around 4,500 tests daily.

Sena Yuva chief and tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray in response to BJP’s protest tweeted : “One political party state unit has set a new low and a new world record – the only party in the world to indulge in politics and in spreading fear, hate and division when the world has forgotten all of it to help each other. This party has forgotten the pandemic.”

Re-tweeting another photo where children are wearing black clothes, holding BJP flags and protesting, Thackeray said, “Absolutely shameful, what lust for power politics can make leaders do. Making children stand in heat, with their masks lowered, not covering their faces for a political protest when we need to keep them safe and indoors.”

“Maharashtra Drohi hashtag has become viral across the country because people realise the true picture of the BJP. In the face of such a horrific disaster, only they can think of politics…let people die, we want power, is their mantra,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.

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