Other States

Maharashtra shifting from lokshahi to lockshahi: Fadnavis

Former Maharashtra CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Criticising the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for allegedly mismanaging the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Devendra Fadnavis said the State was moving from a democracy to a “lockdown tyranny”.

Speaking at a campaign rally for the BJP candidate in the Pandharpur-Mangalwedha assembly bypoll, Mr. Fadnavis said that the tripartite MVA’s ineffectual handling of the pandemic situation and its ham-fisted actions had brought the State to its present crisis. “Today, Maharashtra has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the country. This is the situation of despair that this government has plunged Maharashtra into,” said the BJP leader.

He accused the government of playing an ‘on-off game’ of imposing lockdowns and unlocking them in a bid to keep the rapidly spreading virus at bay. The State is shifting from lokshahi (democracy) to lockshahi (tyranny of the lockdown), Mr. Fadnavis said.

“Yes, a lockdown is needed to break the virus chain. But the Maharashtra government does not realise that those who lose their livelihoods ought to be given at least some relief from the government coffers. Neighbouring States like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have helped the common man and farmers during the pandemic period by waiving electricity bills and granting concessions,” Mr. Fadnavis said, alleging that the Thackeray government was worse than the moneylenders.

He stated that during the pandemic period last year, the State government not only did not provide financial assistance to farmers but collected power bills instead of waiving them off.

The BJP has been demanding that the State government give a relief a package of ₹5,000 per person for workers and labourers in Maharashtra’s unorganised sector in the event a lockdown is finally declared.

With the State reporting average daily spikes of 55,000 cases and 300 deaths each day, Mr. Thackeray and other senior ministers like Health Minister Rajesh Tope have hinted at an imminent lockdown as the only solution to rein in the contagion. To this end, the Chief Minister, since last week has been holding a series of meetings, including at least two all-party discussions in which Mr. Fadnavis among others had participated.

Following the tightening of norms and the weekend lockdown, representatives of a number of traders’ associations and smaller businesses had conferred with Mr. Fadnavis, complaining that the curbs had acutely hit their business.

On Sunday, Mr. Thackeray held a meeting with the State task force on COVID-19, many of whom have recommended at least a two-week lockdown in wake of the nearly four-fold rise in cases as opposed to last year’s peak. The Chief Minister also held meetings with Finance and Revenue Department Ministers and officials today regarding possible provision of relief packages in the event of a lockdown.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:41:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-shifting-from-lokshahi-to-lockshahi-fadnavis/article34304621.ece

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