'Centre for festival curbs, but allowing BJP yatras'

Covid-19: Maharashtra Dy CM says Centre advising festival restrictions while allowing BJP yatras

Maharashtra Dy CM Ajit Pawar. Credit: PTI Photo

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday accused the Centre of issuing directives detailing restrictions on upcoming festivals like Dahi Handi and Ganpati Utsav to states amid the Covid-19 pandemic while allowing the BJP's 'Jan Ashirvad Yatra' to take place.

 He also said that Kerala, which recently celebrated a festival in a grand way, was now the top state in the country in terms of daily coronavirus detection. "Since festivals like Dahi Handi, Ganpati Utsav, Navratri and Diwali are coming up, the Centre has advised states that there should be no crowding. The Centre has done its part, and now the state will do its part," he said. However, Pawar said, the Union government, on the other hand, had allowed four Union ministers to hold Jan Ashirvad Yatras in Maharashtra.

"We will see the effect (in terms of Covid-19 cases) in the places where these yatras were held. In case the tally goes up, the Centre should ponder on who is responsible for it," the NCP leader said. Earlier, in a letter to the Maharashtra chief secretary, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said the trajectory of daily new cases had shown a decline over the last month but some districts in the state were showing early signs of an upsurge in infection count and positivity. In his letter, Bhushan said the Union Home ministry had issued directions under the Disaster Management Act on focused containment measures.

"In light of this order, and in view of mass events and public gatherings expected during the celebration of upcoming festivals (including Dahi Handi and Ganpati Utsav) in Maharashtra, it is advised that the state may consider imposing and enforcing local restrictions in public observation of these festivals and mass gatherings," Bhushan had said in the letter.

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