'Congress supporting Maharashtra govt but isn't key decision-maker': Rahul Gandhi distances party from COVID-19 situation in state

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday distanced his party from the worsening COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra saying his party is only supporting the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government and is not a key decision maker.

FP Staff May 27, 2020 06:51:31 IST
'Congress supporting Maharashtra govt but isn't key decision-maker': Rahul Gandhi distances party from COVID-19 situation in state

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday seemed to be distancing his party from the worsening COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra saying his party is only supporting the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government and is not a key decision maker in the state government.

"I would like to make a differentiation here. We are supporting the government in Maharashtra, but we are not the key decision maker in Maharashtra," Gandhi said, according to PTI, in response to questions on the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state and how he was planning to tackle the situation along with alliance partners Shiv Sena and the NCP in Maharashtra.

Congress supporting Maharashtra govt but isnt key decisionmaker Rahul Gandhi distances party from COVID19 situation in state

File image of Rahul Gandhi. ANI

According to the figures released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family at 8 am on Tuesday, Maharashtra is the worst-affected state in the country, accounting for more than one-third of India's total cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus with 52,667 confirmed infections and 1,695 deaths.

"We are decision-makers in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Puducherry. There is a difference between running the government and supporting it," Gandhi was quoted as saying by News18.

The Congress MP, however said the Centre needs to give more attention to the state of Maharashtra in order to contain the COVID-19 situation there.

"I said very categorically that Maharashtra is an important state, Mumbai is the financial capital and there is a lot of attention, they have a difficult situation and lots of attention needs to be given to the state by the Centre," Gandhi said, according to NDTV.

Responding to the former Congress president's remark, NCP spokesperson said —

In the past, the BJP has been strident in its criticism of the Maharashtra government over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, a BJP delegation led by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis recently met governor BS Koshyari and complained to him about the "failure" of the government in tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

While the Shiv Sena, without specifying any party or leader, has said the Opposition's efforts to destabilise the state government could boomerang, the NCP has accused the BJP of spreading a rumour that President's Rule will be imposed.

The demand for imposition of the President's Rule was indeed made on Monday by BJP MP Narayan Rane after meeting the governor at Raj Bhavan.

Notwithstanding Gandhi's assertion, Congress is not supporting the government from outside, but is a part of it. The party holds key portfolios in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government formed in alliance with the Shiv Sena and NCP.

In fact, Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat is the revenue minister.

Thorat said that the BJP leaders in Maharashtra are trying to destabilise the ruling dispensation for power, but there is no reason to worry.

"BJP leaders in the state are greedy for power. They cannot think of helping the government in the current situation. They are trying to destabilise the government," Thorat told reporters on Tuesday.

When asked why no Congress leader is seen around Thackeray or NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Thorat said, "We are in touch with each other over phones. Nothing should be read into such appearances or disappearances".

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut too hit back at Rane's demand for President's Rule in Maharashtra, saying Gujarat's performance in handling the COVID-19 crisis is "worse", hence it deserves to be put under the Central rule first.

Without specifying any party or leader, Raut said the opposition should get "quarantined", and that their efforts to destabilise the Maharashtra government could boomerang.

With inputs from PTI

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