Patil accuses BJP of playing politics over COVID-19 crisis

Mumbai: With the BJP set to protest Maharashtra governments failure in combating COVID-19, state Minister Jayant Patil on Thursday said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi must not be agreeing to such an agitation, and accused the saffron party of playing politics during the crisis situation.

Terming BJPs Maharashtra unit as childish, Patil said the state is leading in conducting COVID-19 tests, identifying patients, treating them and making arrangements for migrant workers, as compared to other states.

Claiming that the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government has “failed” to check the spread of coronavirus and the rising number of fatalities in the state unlike Kerala, the BJP on Wednesday appealed to people to register a protest on May 22.

Patil, who is also the Maharashtra NCP chief, recalled that all the opposition parties had earlier supported Prime Minister Modis appeal of clanking utensils and lighting lamps (to express gratitude towards doctors, nurses and police) to send across a message that the country was united in the fight against COVID-19.

The Maharashtra BJP, however, is playing politics during the crisis period, Patil alleged.

We lit up lamps, when asked to. Why did we light up lamps? To send out a message that we are united in the fight against the crisis. Unfortunately, we cannot see such a situation in Maharashtra, the state water resources minister told reporters during an online press conference.

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Maharashtra has conducted the highest number of COVID-19 tests and hence, maximum cases are being reported from the state, he said.

Patil claimed more positive cases will be found in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat, if tests are carried out in these states on the scale as in Maharashtra.

“Hence, it was not right for the BJP to politicise the issue. I think Narendra Modiji too must not be in agreement with what the Maharashtra BJP is doing,” the minister said.

“BJP leaders in Maharashtra are being childish by planning protests when no other party has even thought about it in the country, he said.

Patil also termed as quite unfortunate BJP leader Subramanian Swamys reported remark that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray should snap ties with the allies Congress and NCP or else the parties will destroy the Shiv Sena president in the face of COVID-19 crisis.

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Swamy had made the reported comment sharing an article titled ‘The Corona Crisis: Presidents Rule, the only way out in Maharashtra?’ on Twitter.

Hitting back at the BJP, Patil said the NCP has not questioned how come the novel coronavirus entered India when the saffron party is ruling the country.

The NCP will not raise the question and it does not want to politicise the issue at this juncture, he said.

Maharashtra is leading in treating patients and making all the required arrangements. If any state government has to be dissolved on this account, then it will be (BJP-led) Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Then Maharashtra can be thought about, the minister said.

Patil also announced NCP’s ‘Abhipray Abhiyan’ (feedback campaign) ahead of completion of 22 years of the partys formation on June 10.

The NCP leader said he will speak to five lakh party workers over phone during the campaign beginning Friday, to know their views on difficulties they are facing while working at the grass root level.

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