Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that a political controversy has been hatched to defame the state and that he was capable of weathering the storm.
While he did not mention actor Sushant Singh Rajput death case or the controversy surrounding Shiv Sena’s tussle with actor Kangana Ranaut during his address to the state, sources close to him said his “defaming Maharashtra” remark was in reference to that.
The CM also took potshot at Opposition leaders who have been criticising him for not stepping out much, saying that with the help of technology, he reaches even places his detractors can’t. “Wherever a personal visit is needed, I go,” he said.
Concerns over the rise in Covid-19 cases and the soaring of tension in the state following the Supreme Court’s interim order staying reservations of Maratha community in education and jobs were at the core of Udhhav’s live address.
Reaching out to the Marathas, Uddhav urged them to exercise restraint. “I want to tell the mothers and sisters; our feelings are the same as yours. We must fight against injustice. But this is your government, so what is the need to come out on the streets,” he said, while assuring the community of the government’s commitment to extend the reservations in jobs and education.
With some Maratha groups staging protests against the government, Uddhav urged the community “not to gather in large numbers during a raging pandemic, as the government was with it and would go to court again on this”.
Expressing dismay at the SC order, Uddhav said: “Other states whose reservation laws are under consideration before a larger bench have not experienced such a stay.” Claiming that the stay was unexpected, he assured the community that the government and his Cabinet was in constant touch with experts to put across legal argument for the same.
He also sent out a message that the Opposition was working with the government on this issue. “I have spoken to the Opposition leader (Devendra Fadnavis) on the phone, who has also assured full cooperation (to the government).”
While patting his government’s back for working through floods, Nisarga cyclone and other issues, Uddhav spoke of the “rising fear that the coronavirus pandemic may worsen further”.
Admitting that the cases were rising and that there was now a surge in rural areas as well, the CM said that the state’s ‘Mission Begin Again’, festivals and monsoon had all coincided. “What I feared is happening. Corona is not going down. The numbers are rising.”
While listing various measures initiated by the government to overcome the health crisis, Uddhav elaborated on the Majha Kutumb Majhi Jawabdari (My Family, My Responsibility) campaign, where the government intends to go in for a statewide door-to-door health survey from September 15. “Our population is 12 crore. I want to tell our state machinery, such a survey may be tough to carry out but not impossible. Every MLA, MP and corporator, irrespective of party affiliations, should take responsibility for their area to get this done,” he said. The survey intends to screen all residents for health parameters, fever symptoms and co-morbities.
Uddhav also said that the state has added 3.6 lakh additional beds during the pandemic. “We are working because of your blessings,” he told the people.
He highlighted his government’s loan waiver scheme, while promoting a new scheme for optimisation of returns of farm produce.
While thanking people of all religions for avoiding crowds during the festival season, Uddhav, however, expressed concerns that Covid-19 numbers in the state is still rising and said people needed to continue taking precautions.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines