Maharashtra lockdown: BJP's Patil, Fadnavis attack Uddhav government on aid to poor

By PTI
PUNE: Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Sunday hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray government for imposing a slew of restrictions, including a weekend lockdown, without earmarking relief for the poor amid a surge in COVID- 19 cases.

The state government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday.

Apart from the weekend lockdown, strict restrictions will come into force from Monday 8 pm onwards under which shopping malls, bars, restaurants, small shops will be open only for take-aways and parcels.

Government offices will be allowed to function only at 50 per cent of their capacity.

Patil said the move by the MVA government will hit the poor the most as no relief package had been announced for them.

Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday appealed to the people in Maharashtra to follow the restrictions and the weekend lockdown announced by the state government to tackle the spread of COVID-19 cases.

The Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly also said the government should focus on providing financial aid to the poor and the middle-class people following the restrictions.

He said the state government had collected arrears to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore from the people for defaulting on the payment of electricity bills.

“The government should stop this (collecting the arrears) now,” the BJP leader told reporters.

The state government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday.

Apart from the weekend lockdown, strict restrictions will come into force from Monday 8 pm onwards under which shopping malls, bars, restaurants, small shops will be open only for take-aways and parcels.

Government offices will be allowed to function only at 50 per cent of their capacity.

“Lockdown or a partial lockdown is okay. We will support the government, but it should also focus on providing financial assistance to the poor and the middle class,” Fadnavis said.

Citing experts, Fadnavis said a new and more infectious strain of coronavirus affects the lungs of patients fast.

“Awareness should be created about the nature of the precautions that need to be taken by the people because of the new strain of the virus. Why Maharashtra is the worst affected?” he asked.

Talking about the “new strain”, the former chief minister said that initially no symptoms are seen in the infected people, but then the infection spreads fast.

Fadnavis also said the Centre had helped all states, including Maharashtra, in tackling the pandemic.

“At the same time, the state government should stop blaming the Centre for its failures and stop playing politics on this issue,” he said.

Fadnavis said workers of the BJP will help the people in registration of vaccination.

“When the chief minister calls us seeking our cooperation, we agree to it. But, at the same time, the government should stop playing politics and stop blaming the Centre for its failures,” he added.