While at the Centre it’s the BJP versus Congress-led Opposition, in Maharashtra it’s the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government versus BJP, over the way respective governments deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. In Maharashtra, the BJP is silently engaged in the game of political one-upmanship by launching the ‘seva hi sanghatan’ campaign to provide assistance to affected people and a vaccination programme.
The party has asked its district units to gear up the local units and put in maximum efforts to help patients and their families. They have been asked to send daily reports to the State BJP HQs in Mumbai. The party MPs and MLAs have been asked to coordinate with them.
While senior leaders take pot-shots at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying he never ventures out of his home to assess the ground realities, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis toured most part of the state.
How is the party reaching out to people? For instance, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, MLA and Mumbai BJP chief has opened a Covid care centre with 50-bed capacity in South Mumbai and soon another care centre with 100-bed capacity is being started at Janata Centre, Tardeo. The North Mumbai unit provided oxygen concentrators and helped for oxygen beds, informed an office bearer.
At Pune, where the party rules municipal corporation, a helpline for the vaccination has been launched apart from a Covid test van. The party corporators have decided to contribute to the oxygen plant. In Yavatmal, MLA Madan Yerawar provided 300 additional beds for the patients and a drive for free medicines was launched for senior citizens. MLA Meghna Bordikar from Parbhani district ensured a team of 20 doctors to provide guidance.
At Beed, Dr Preetam Munde, who is local MP and her sister Ex-minister Pankaja Munde launched a Covid care centre at Parli and helped for funds from the PM care fund for the ventilators.
Party units in Thane, Hingli, Nanded have done their bit by making beds and oxygen cylinders available, say the party leaders. At Washim Union Minister Nitin Gadkari reached out for providing ventilators and NIV machines.
While at Aurangabad oxygen cylinders for home quarantine patients, a Covid care centre was set up by MLA Rana Jagjitsingh Patil at Osmanabad. Free antigen test camps were organised in Jalgaon.
When asked, Keshav Upadhye, BJP’s chief spokesman said, “Not just for the pandemic alone, our party organization was always there whenever calamities hit the state. Our organizational set up has made it a point to reach out to people for providing help.” Sensing the state machinery’s failure, the government wants to put the blame on the centre which has not been the fact, said Upadhye adding, “If you recall the Central teams visited Maharashtra to assess the situation many times, provided advisories from time to time apart from the medical help.