Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the 15th minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet to do so and has been admitted to Breach Candy Hospital. Last week, he had home-quarantined after testing negative. Three days, ago former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was found Covid-positive and admitted to the government-run Saint George Hospital.
Ajit Pawar tweeted: “I have tested positive for corona. As a precautionary measure, I have been admitted to the Breach Candy hospital, on doctor's advice.’’
“Citizens of the state, leaders of all political parties in the state, including the Nationalist Congress Party office-bearers and activists, are advised there is no reason to worry. I am in good health and after a short rest, I will be back to work with you soon,’’ he added.
Pawar was one of the ministers in the Thackeray cabinet who had been on his guard from the start of the pandemic, whether attending office in Mantralaya or on the field. He was the first minister to display a red ribbon in his office, requesting officers and visitors to keep a safe distance during meetings. Every Friday, he had been holding extensive review meetings on the Covid situation in Pune and had been visiting sites of ongoing infrastructure projects in the district, in his capacity as its guardian minister.
Even though he had home-quarantined last week, Pawar held a series of video conferences and had also attended the meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last Friday, to finalise the Rs 10,000 crore package for flood-hit districts.
However, he was not in attendance at the function organised by his party to welcome former BJP leader Eknath Khadse into the NCP fold. At that time, there was speculation that this was because he was unhappy with Khadse’s entry into the NCP.
His uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had rubbished these reports, saying his nephew had been under medical observation and that there was no unhappiness in the party over Khadse's entry. The NCP chief also called upon ministers, MLAs and other elected representatives to take all possible precautions during the pandemic.