Mumbai: Amid protest calls given by various pro-Maratha quota organisations in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed them to extend cooperation with the state government as both are on the same page. Thackeray, in his web address after almost three months, said the state government is exploring all possible options including approaching the Supreme Court against the interim stay granted on the Maratha reservation which he said was quite surprising and not needed when the matter has been referred to a Constitution Bench.
Thackeray further explained the ruling was also unexpected as the reservation in other states were not touched and the petitions in that regard were also pending for ruling.
Thackeray’s appeal comes when pro-Maratha activists have started protests in various districts while some organisations have started their deliberations at Aurangabad to decide future course of action. ‘’However, I want to urge all not to resort to agitation or protest morchas during the present COVID-19 crisis but maintain restraint as the government is with you. The government is quite serious on this issue and working sincerely so that the interim stay on Maratha quota is lifted. The government is approaching the apex court and has been holding talks with an able legal team,’’ he noted.
Thackeray said he had a talk with former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the morning and he has assured all cooperation to the government on the Maratha quota issue. ‘’ During the BJP-led government, Shiv Sena was in power and that time all political parties had unanimously extended support for the Maratha reservation which was upheld by the Bombay High Court but now the apex court has given an interim stay. I expect similar cooperation from all political parties and organisations in the legal battle as the government is committed to give justice,’’ he viewed.
On the present state of COVID-19 crisis, Thackeray admitted that the cases are rising rapidly not just in Maharashtra or the country but world over. ‘’There seems to be a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation has also alerted that there could be another crisis and therefore we have to be prepared for the same. In Mumbai, where the daily cases had dipped to 700 are now over 2,000. Similarly, there have been spurt in coronavirus cases in rest of Maharashtra but the government is making all efforts to control and further strengthen its health infrastructure in war against virus,'' he said.
Thackeray said the government has increased the bed capacity since March and there are now over 3.20 lakh beds across the state. He informed tests were increased and also the oxygen availability. ‘’There are reports of oxygen shortages in various parts also because the industries have restarted their operations. The state government has taken a decision for supply of 80% oxygen for health and remaining 20% for industry,’’ he added.
Thackeray at length explained the state government’s move to launch ‘’My Family My Responsibility’’ campaign from September 15 in a serious bid to check COVID-19 patients and their contacts and also collect health-related details from 12 crore people of Maharashtra. ‘’I know this is a gigantic exercise but I am confident it will be possible with active cooperation of all citizens including elected representatives, political parties and various organisations. The government aims to reach out to all 12 crore people twice. This campaign is on the lines of 'Chase the Virus' implemented in Mumbai so that spread of coronavirus infection can be curbed,’’ he noted.
CM, however, appealed to the people to strictly follow health and safety norms including wearing masks, social distancing, use of sanitizers and avoid face to face talk and crowding. ‘’The state government under 'Mission Begin Again' has unlocked many things and implemented relaxations in a bid to restore normalcy in all sectors. The government does not want to re-impose lockdown and to avoid that I expect cooperation from all by observing self discipline,’’ he said. He thanked all people, especially religious leaders, for extending their cooperation to the government during the celebrations of various festivals by avoiding crowding."
According to Thackeray, he has held talks with gym operators and restaurant owners. He, however, said the government will take a decision in this regard and also on the reopening of religious places.
Despite COVID-19 crisis, Thackeray said the state government has waived farm loans of a record 29.50 lakh farmers. Further, the government has launched the 'Vikel te Pikel' campaign which aims to put in place a value chain and strengthen infrastructure so that farmers can get assured market and price and not just Minimum Support Price for the agriculture produce.
CM Uddhav Thackeray referred to the recent controversy over actress Kangana Renaut’s statement likening Mumbai to PoK and on demolition of her office. He did not mention any names but clearly said efforts are made to malign the state and target him. ‘’The politics is being played. Let them do that. I will not speak on the issue now but will make my stand clear some other time,’’ he noted.
Thackeray also did not utter a word over the attack on a retired Navy Officer allegedly by Shiv Sena activists.