Rahul Gandhi's remarks on Maharashtra COVID-19 handling, sends Sena, NCP on damage control mode

Last Updated 27 May 2020, 03:24 IST

Rahul Gandhi’s remarks at a press conference on Congress not being a key player in the Maharashtra government has once again brought to the fore the unease in the coalition government in the state led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Rahul’s statement at a time when Maharashtra has been grappling with the COVID-19 cases that have stretched its healthcare system triggered taunts from former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who accused the Congress of shirking responsibility during a crisis and putting the blame on Thackeray.

“I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision-maker in Maharashtra. We are a key decision-maker in Punjab, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan, Puducherry. So, there is a difference between running a government and supporting the government,” he said when asked about the rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra.

Privately, Congress leaders complain of not being consulted in key decisions by Shiv Sena and NCP and point out that they do not handle any key departments involved in combating the COVID-19 crises.

BJP has been snapping at the heels of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government keeping up the heat on its handling of the COVID-19 crises.

“Statement of mistrust between two alliance partners by Rahul Gandhi is a bad joke on the people of Maharashtra, humankind is facing this crisis. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray should respond to allegations of non-cooperation by Shiv Sena in the interest of people of Maharashtra,” BJP spokesperson Shaina N C said.

Shiv Sena troubleshooter Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Nawab Malik moved in quickly to douse the controversy with the message of all is well with the alliance.

“What Rahul Gandhi said is true because Maharashtra has a government-run by three parties. “All parties are united and working to serve the people,” Malik said.

Before Rahul’s press conference, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had met Thackeray and declared that the state government was stable and would last its full term.

The meeting came in the wake of BJP leader and former chief minister Narayan Rane calling on Governor BS Koshiyari and demanding President’s Rule in the state due to the failure of the state government to handle the COVID-19 outbreak.

(Published 26 May 2020, 16:41 IST)

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