MVA parties slam BJP for holding protest amid COVID-19 crisis

Mumbai, May 22 (PTI) The ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra on Friday hit out at the opposition BJP for stooping to a 'new low' and making the state a 'political stage' by organising a protest against the Uddhav Thackeray-led government amid the coronavirus crisis.

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Friday led the opposition party's state-wide protest against the 'failure' of the Shiv Sena-headed Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to curb the coronavirus spread in Maharashtra.

Fadnavis along with party colleague Vinod Tawde and Mumbai BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha held protest at the state party office in Nariman point, holding placards and sporting black face mask and black ribbon.

The BJP had given a call for 'Maharashtra Bachao' agitation asking the party workers to protest against the government outside their homes by adhering to social distancing norms amid the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

The ruling allies of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, however, accused the BJP of indulging in politics during a health emergency like coronavirus.

Shiv Sena leader and state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, without naming the BJP tweeted, 'One political party state unit has set a new low and a new world record- the only party in the world to indulge in politics and in spreading fear, hate and division when the world has forgotten all of it to help each othr. This party has forgotten the pandemic.' He also tweeted a photo of children holding BJP flags.

'Absolutely shameful, what lust for power politics can make leaders do. Making kids stand in the heat, with their masks lowered, not covering the face for a political protest when we need to keep them safe and indoors. Corona ko bhul gaye, politics pyaara hai,' he said.

State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, who is the Revenue Minister in the MVA government, alleged that the BJP was more interested in creating problems for the Maharashtra government than giving solutions.

'The fact is that Devendra Fadnavis is not committed towards the state. His commitment lies with the BJP leaders in Delhi. Why make Maharashtra a political stage when it is going through such a crisis? We should be working unitedly. Is this time to do politics? The stand of the state BJP will go down in history as the black day,' he said.

PWD Minister Ashok Chavan said that just like the Congress is offering constructive suggestions at the national level for fighting the pandemic, the state BJP leadership could have done the same.

'It is unfortunate that the state BJP leaders are indulging in politics,' he said.

State Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant wondered how the BJP can think of politics at the time of a crisis when doctors, nurses, police and the administration are fighting an enemy called coronavirus.

The ruling NCP asked the opposition party whether it is insulting COVID-19 warriors and committing 'treason' with Maharashtra.

NCP leaders used the hashtag MaharashtradrohiBJP (Maharashtra treacherous BJP) to hit out at the opposition party, which has been critical of the Shiv Sena-led government over its handling of the coronavirus crisis in the state, which has so far recorded 41,642 cases.

'Think once before holding black (placards) in hand, whether you are insulting doctors, policemen and health workers who are working round the clock for Maharashtra! Whether you are committing treason with Maharashtra?' state minister Jayant Patil, who is also the state unit chief of the NCP, tweeted.

Maharashtra Housing Minister and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad, too, attacked the BJP for playing 'dirty politics' when the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) is battling COVID-19 with full vigour.

Another NCP leader and Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde accused the BJP of not being honest with Maharashtra by protesting at a time when the state is tackling the disease valiantly.

Maharashtra will never forget the treachery committed with its soil, he said on Twitter.

The Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana', said the BJP's agitation against the Thackeray-led government at the time of a health crisis will boomerang on the opposition party. PTI MR ENM RSY NP NP