Cabinet minister and NCP state president Jayant Patil says election rallies and congregations held in second wave will have huge ramifications
GN Bureau | April 22, 2021
Refuting any political instability in the state, Jayant Patil, Maharashtra cabinet minister and state president of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has said the government is very stable and there are no differences among allies.
The senior leader accused the opposition of ‘playing politics’ and disregarding public welfare. “Of course it is politically very stable govt. We don’t have any differences among ourselves. Basically, we are a government that is formed with the support of 170 MLAs. The opposition unfortunately is not interested in working like opposition. They are interested in proving ‘Main Aaa Raha Hoon’ (I am going to come back to power),” said Patil.
He was in a live conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD Governance Now, during the live webcast on Wednesday as part of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
Patil said it is the job of the opposition to bring out the shortfalls of the state machinery but that is not happening. “Actually, the opposition should work like opposition which brings out all shortfalls of state machinery. That is not happening. People in Maharashtra are fed up because the opposition is not doing its job but trying to prove a point that they are coming back to power.”
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Coming down on the recent incident when former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis rushed to Vile Parle police station late in the night after a director of Daman-based pharma company was summoned for hoarding storing stocks of Remdisivir (a drug used to treat critical Covid patients) and reportedly threatened the cops, Patil said, “I think this is not the way of… if we politicians go to that level it will be impossible for govt officers and state machinery to work effectively and it is very difficult… in spite of that, we have taken things in good stride … the way Remdisivir was available in the market without permission of Daman administration when there was no permission to sell or send Remdisivir in Maharashtra and in spite of that Remdisivir stock was lying in the said person’s premises and the police dept inquired about ... and then Mr. Fadnavis went there and said that Remdisivir was brought at their instructions …how can they stop it..”
He blamed that opposition for playing politics over Remdisivir.
“As per the system in Maharashtra, all manufacturers of Remdisivir are requested to send the supplies first to the govt machinery after which the govt distributes it to all district collectors and then the collectors distribute the same to all govt and private hospitals. This prevents the private sector from misusing Remdisivir. Unfortunately politics is a priority for the opposition leaders who are trying to draw mileage out of it,” he further said.
Responding to a question on remarks by opposition leaders that even without elections or any religious congregations Maharashtra is the largest contributor to Covid infections in the country, Patil who is the state water resources minister, said Maharashtra being a big state there is huge movement of people within the state. He added that recently when the state had by-polls leaders had to remove their masks while communicating with people so that other people could hear them and after that they immediately wore back their masks.
While a wave of this intensity was not expected, the election commission should have taken into consideration of the pandemic situation for elections in other states. In West Bengal the need was to conduct elections within the boundaries of Covid norms and the repercussions will be now felt across the country.
“Unfortunately even people who attend rallies do not wear masks because there is a general belief that Corona is not serious. It can infect others but spare them. Looking at rallies of Amit shah, Narendra Modi or Mamata Banerjee, you see there is no concern for virus or Covid infection. You will see its spread in the coming months and this will have serious repercussions across the country,” he said.
Patil also spoke about how digital technology has harnessed the connectivity of NCP on the ground and with young people. He said that during the 2014 elections they saw how BJP used digital platforms to their success. “Just before the last parliament and assembly elections we ramped up our digital connections with many WhatsApp groups and through an app registered booth level karyakartas (party workers) which we are also upgrading. Any party karyakarta can immediately contact me or even our party chief, Mr Sharad Pawar, for communication and this is the basis of our party's success. With digitization we are hoping our strength will increase multi-fold and also connect new generation with us,” he said.
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