Maha CM hints at lockdown; meeting with task force on Sunday

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Mumbai, Apr 10 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the state given the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, as per some ministers and a senior BJP leader who attended an all-party meeting.

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 lockdownwill be finalised soon'.

'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.

'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.

Meanwhile, 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 durationof a lockdownwill be finalised soon,' he said.

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. PTI MR NSK NSK