In an interview to Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday indicated that he was not ready to lift the prevailing lockdown the state in one go and said curbing Covid-19 cases while allowing economic activities to resume was a tightrope walk.
“I will never say that the lockdown will be lifted completely. But I have started reopening the activities one by one gradually and my attempt is to ensure that once the activities resume, it shouldn’t be shut again. We need to worry about [people’s] health and the economy, and need to maintain a balance between the two. It is like walking a tightrope,” Thackeray said. The ongoing lockdown in the state will be in force till July 31.
The chief minister further said that many people were opposing the lockdown as it was affecting the economy. “I want to tell these people that I am ready to lift the lockdown, but will they take responsibility if the people die due to it? I am aware of the economic concerns… I am not [the US President Donald] Trump. I cannot see people dying in front of my eyes…”
On the resumption of Mumbai’s suburban local train services, Thackeray said, “Decide once and for all, either this way or that way. What if the families fall ill and their houses are sealed? Who will unlock the door of their houses?”
Thackeray also took a dig at the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Devendra Fadnavis over his recent visit to Delhi, saying that the BJP leader may have visited the national capital to assess the Covid-19 situation. “He might have gone there [Delhi] to see the Covid-19 situation. He goes to Delhi and speaks about the Covid-19 situation as he has given his MLA fund to Delhi,” Thackeray said in a veiled reference to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund.
“I am doing my work honestly. I don’t have to worry as long as the people trust me. Recently, a survey listed Maharashtra chief minister as one of the best CMs in the country. This might have given some a stomach ache [to some],” he added.
Asked about the criticism he has been facing for not visiting Mantralaya, Thackeray said, “I can cover the entire state from home and can take quick decisions. That is the advantage of the technology.” On a question whether he felt the need to seek deployment of the Indian Army in the financial capital, Thackeray said there was never a need to call the army in Mumbai. “I was briefed about the seriousness of the disease during the assembly session in March. At that time, I had said that military technology can be used to build the field hospitals on war footing. But I am proud that our administration set up the jumbo facilities swiftly,” he added.