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Analysis | Nitin Gadkari wins Uddhav Thackeray praise on COVID-19 fight

Nitin Gadkari. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Opposition parties, and the Central and State governments may be at daggers drawn with regard to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic but Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has managed to find synergy with the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA)-led Maharashtra government.

Mr. Gadkari has been more than proactive in Nagpur, home of his Lok Sabha constituency and one that was the site of a major upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the massive second wave that has hit India.

Also read: Long-term arrangements needed to fight COVID-19, says Nitin Gadkari

While State governments scrambled for oxygen as cases and demand for the medical oxygen went up, Mr. Gadkari’s emergency call to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy secured 300 ventilators for Maharashtra. Mr. Gadkari said in a tweet: “I had called the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and requested him to provide support to Maharashtra which is facing a grim situation due to COVID19. Acting swiftly on the request, the AP government sent 300 ventilators to the state. At this crucial time, it will be instrumental in saving precious lives. On behalf of the citizens of the state, I heartily thank him for his swift action.”

This was appreciated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, too. As Nagpur scrambled around for medical resources like the rest of the country was doing, State administration and officials realised that Mr. Gadkari could be the leverage they needed at the national level.

So it was that as a new scourge, black fungus or Mucormycosis hit COVID-19 patients, the injection required to treat it, Amphotericin B, has been in very short supply. Mr. Gadkari got the State drug authority clearance for Genetic Life Sciences, a Wardha-based company, to produce the injection, and also helped the company source raw materials for the same. The first batch of injections are supposed to be out in 10 days time.

Close aides of Mr. Gadkari say that the local administration has been cooperative with regard to his initiatives to increase capacities in Nagpur whether for hospital beds, Remdisivir injections and now Amphotericin B. “It’s an unusual occurrence that we are getting the same cooperation as the ruling alliance MLAs,” said a source. This could also be because the other big leader in Vidarbha and an MLA from Nagpur is former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has been scathing in his criticism of the MVA government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Whatever the reason, Mr. Gadkari’s interventions have been well received. While he has had to clarify that he advocated licensing domestic vaccine manufacturers to produce anti-COVID-19 vaccines to boost supply in India without realising that that had in fact been done by the Government of India, his point was well taken.

Amid the politics surrounding the handling of the pandemic, the Nagpur model has stood out.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 7:46:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/analysis-gadkari-helps-home-constituency-nagpur-with-covid-19-supplies/article34598183.ece

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