Mumbai, May 15 (PTI) The Shiv Sena on Saturday praised the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh for its decision to provide a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 and free ration to children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the editorial in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana', the Sena also questioned the need for spending on projects like Central Vista, which it said will 'deface' Delhi,or for the PR machinery of ministers in the time of the pandemic.
The Sena's comments are viewed as a veiled swipe aimed at Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in view of the state government's decision to allocate nearly Rs 6 crore for appointing a private agency to handle his social media accounts.
Under fire over the decision, Ajit Pawar had ordered the cancellation of the government order in this regard.
'It is often debated how children orphaned after losing their parents to COVID-19 should be taken care of. This issue is discussed in Maharashtra as well. But Madhya Pradesh didn't stop at discussions but took a decision to financially support such children,' Sena said.
On May 13, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that the state government will provide free education, ration and a pension of Rs 5,000 per month to children whose parents have died of coronavirus.
'The Madhya Pradesh government has shown the path of humanity to the rest of the country. This decision shows politicians still have humanity,' it said.
A former ally of the BJP, the Sena heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising the NCP and the Congress.
The Sena also said children suffer the most in natural and man-made calamities.
'The crisis of the orphaned children is a big calamity during this pandemic,' the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party said.
The Sena recalled the 1993 earthquake in Latur in Maharashtra in which several people had lost their lives.
'Several families were buried alive. At that time, many social organisations came forward to take care of the children who lost their parents,' it said.
The Sena said many children became orphaned during incidents like the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat; the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi; militancy in Punjab and terrorism in Kashmir.
'This crisis of orphaned children is not just restricted to India, but it has become a major humanitarian issue in the world, especially in conflict zones,' the Sena said.
The Sena demanded that Central or state governments register orphaned childrenand help them on humanitarian grounds.
'The country doesn't need expenditure on projects like Central Vista which will deface Delhior on PR machinery of ministers. People need to live. Orphans need to be taken care of. Social organisations will do their bit, but what politicians can do; Madhya Pradesh has shown the way,' it said.
The redevelopment project of the Central Vista -- the power corridor of the country -- envisages a new triangular Parliament building, a Common Central Secretariat and the revamping of the three-km-long Rajpath from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate and new residences for the prime minister and the vice president. PTI MR NSK NSK