The Shiv Sena on Thursday took a dig at its old ally BJP as Sena MP Sanjay Raut defended Maharashtra government’s handling of Covid-19 crisis.
Maharashtra has been the worst hit by the pandemic in the country with over 10 lakh people affected.
The outspoken MP, who was in the forefront of Sena’s online fight with actor Kangana Ranaut, said in parliament on Thursday that the fight against coronavirus was not a political one but a fight to save the lives of people.
Raut said the state government controlled the spread of coronavirus in slums like Dharavi, an effort which was appreciated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Taking a jibe at BJP leader Union Minister and BJP leader Arjun Ram Meghwal, Raut said sarcastically, “These recoveries didn’t happen by eating Bhabhi ji papad.” The Sena MP was referring to Meghwal’s claim in July that the said papad brand had the capacity to develop anti-bodies against coronavirus. Meghwal had later tested positive for the virus.
Raut admitted the number of confirmed cases from Maharashtra were the highest, but said the state has managed to successfully cure majority of those infected. “My mother and my brother are infected with Covid. More than 30,000 people have recovered from COVID in Maharashtra. How did it happen? Today, the situation in Dharavi is under control. WHO has appreciated the efforts of BMC,” Raut said in the Rajya Sabha.
Raut said despite their best efforts the opposition in Maharashtra was only criticising the state government. “I want to ask the members how did so many people recover? Kya log bhabhi ji ke papad kha karke theek ho gaye? (Did they recover by eating Bhabhiji’s papad (snack)? This isn’t a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people,” he said referring to Meghawal.
The BJP, to which Meghwal belongs, has been at the forefront in criticising the state government over its handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, has accused Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of trying to slow the number of testing to show that the pandemic has been controlled in the state.
Maharashtra still accounts for about 25% of the new daily cases. It registered 23,365 new infections on Wednesday. India’s Covid tally is way past the 51-lakh mark with over 97,000 new cases in last 24 hours. Maharashtra accounts for over 11 lakh of these cases.