Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday held an all-party meeting over the worsening covid situation in the state and indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown given the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, as per some ministers and a senior BJP leader who attended an all-party meeting. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was also present in the meeting.
Speaking in the all-party meet, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he honestly believe that a strict lockdown is necessary in the state, to control the spread of coronavirus. He added unlike last year’s lockdown, everything is open right now and it is difficult to trace people. He also said that some people are spreading misinformation that coronavirus is not a disease.
While Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said he would hold a meeting on Monday on working out a financial package for the sections whose livelihood will be impacted, his colleague Ashok Chavan said the “nature, scope and duration of the lockdown will be finalised soon”.
No formal decision on lockdown yet in all-party meet
“Though no formal decision on a lockdown has arrived at the all-party meeting, the chief minister appears to be in favour of a strict lockdown,” state BJP president Chandrakant Patil told reporters after the virtual meeting, which discussed the COVID-19 situation in the state for over two hours.
Apart from prominent ministers from the ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, state Congress president Nana Patole and other leaders also attended the meeting.
Sharing his concern, LoP Devendra Fadnavis said that the government should first announce an economic package for weaker sections before imposing a lockdown.
“The BJP feels a lockdown is necessary, but the government should first work out a financial package for the people who will be affected,” Chandrakant Patil said.
Patole said his party was in support of whatever decision the CM takes.
“However, Congress wants the lockdown to be less problematic, unlike the last year. We support a financial package for the affected population.
The Opposition said that a financial package should be announced first,” he said.
Patole blames surge in cases due to poor delivery of vaccines
Patole blamed the rise in coronavirus positive cases in Maharashtra on the “poor supply” of vaccines.
State PWD Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said the state government’s priority is to save the lives and livelihood of the people.
“The nature, scope and duration of a lockdown will be finalised soon,” he said.
Key task force meeting on Sunday
Senior NCP leader and minister Nawab Malik said the CM will hold talks with the state COVID-19 task force on Sunday before taking a decision.
“There is unanimity among the leaders who attended the meeting today that a lockdown or strict restrictions are necessary to break the coronavirus transmission chain. The government will also consider providing a financial package to daily wagers as well as to the people whose livelihood will
get affected (due to the lockdown). The meeting was held to arrive at a consensus on steps to be taken,” he told reporters.
(With inputs from PTI)