Maharashtra govt cheated people with strict lockdown: BJP

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Pune, Apr 6 (PTI)The BJP on Tuesday alleged the Maharashtra government 'cheated' people by imposing a 'strict lockdown' in the state and demanded a financial package for various sections of the society.

Addressing the party workers on the occasion of the BJP's foundation day, state unit president Chandrakant Patil said traders and common people will not tolerate such 'cheating' by those in power.

Alarmed by the huge rise in cases over the last few days, the state government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown and night curfew during the weekdays from Monday to April 30, in addition to a slew of other restrictions like the closure of private offices, theatres and salons.

The weekend lockdown will start from 8 pm on Fridays and last till 7 am on Mondays. Besides, prohibitory orders will be in force during the daytime on weekdays, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) had said in a statement.

'During the discussion between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Devendraji (Fadnavis) it was promised that the government will impose a mini lockdown from Monday to Friday, but the actual notification enforced a strict lockdown,' said Patil.

He said several associations of traders are opposing the new set of curbs.

'They told me that even if they get arrested, they will keep their businesses open,' he said.

Patil said the state government should have realised the impact of the new guidelines on the common man, 'as no package of financial assistance has been awarded'.

Taking a swipe at CM Thackeray, Patil said, 'It is very easy to announce a lockdown and close down the trade by sitting at 'Matoshree' (the private residence of the Thackerays in Mumbai)...Givethe package to hawkers, maids and other needy people'.

'We do not oppose lockdown but the state government should announce a financial package,' he added.

Patil said the state government has imposed a strict lockdown under the garb of a 'mini lockdown'.

'Such cheating is not at all acceptable. You (the government) can say in other matters that their ministers have not done anything (wrong). But see how the High Court rapped you. Two resignations are tendered (of Home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday and Sanjay Rathod of Shiv Sena earlier) and a third resignation will be out in the next eight days,' Patil said.

He asked the party workers to strengthen the booth system ahead of the 2024 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

'In 2019 (Assembly elections in Maharashtra), we fought on 164 (of the total 288) seats and garnered 1.42 crore votes. If we can bag 1.42 crore votes by fighting 100 seats less compare to the 2014 elections, then we can get more than 2 crore votes by fighting all the 288 seats in the next elections.

'In the 2024 elections, if the contest lies between the BJP and all others, and if we want to form a government on our own, then we will have to win more than 2 crore votes,' he added. PTI SPK NSK NSK