'Did people recover by eating 'Bhabhi Ji Papad'?: Shiv Sena taunts BJP, defends Maharashtra's COVID-19 response

In an apparent dig at Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Raut said did those people recover by eating 'Bhabhi Ji Papad'. Meghwal had come under fire after he claiming that the ingredients of a papad brand help in the formation of antibodies needed to fight COVID-19.

FP Staff September 17, 2020 16:03:21 IST
'Did people recover by eating 'Bhabhi Ji Papad'?: Shiv Sena taunts BJP, defends Maharashtra's COVID-19 response

File image of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. PTI

Defending Maharashtra's response to the coronavirus pandemic in the Parliament, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said that the state government is fighting against COVID-19 by "following the protocol laid by prime minister Narendra Modi's government".

"More than 30,000 people have recovered from COVID in Maharashtra. How did it happen?," he said.

In an apparent dig at Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Raut said did those people recover by eating "Bhabhi Ji Papad". Meghwal had come under fire after he reportedly claimed that the ingredients of a papad brand ''Bhabhi Ji Papad'' helps in the formation of antibodies needed to fight COVID-19 .

Stressing that there should no politicisation of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shiv Sena on Thursday asked the Centre to release the money to states from the PM Cares Fund and also clear GST dues to help them deal with the coronavirus situation.

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During the second day of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the pandemic and steps taken by the Centre, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) took exception to the criticism by some BJP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, of the measures taken by the Maharashtra government to control the pandemic.

Raut further said all states were doing their best to deal with the pandemic.

It's not that opposition ruled states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi were doing bad, and only BJP-led NDA states were excelling in the fight, he added.

"We should not be pointing fingers at each other," he said and stressed that the Shiv Sena has been maintaining that the battle against COVID has to be fought under the leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi.

He charged that from 1 September onwards, the Centre has stopped supplies of medical equipment like PPE Kits and masks, putting an additional burden of Rs 350 crore on the Maharashtra government.

If the Centre wants the states to fight the COVID battle on their own, it should clear all GST dues, he demanded.

The PM Cares Fund too, is for all states, and money should be released to them, he said.

His party colleague, Priyanka Chaturvedi, a first time MP, also expressed disappointment over politicisation of the fight against the pandemic.

She said every single state has been asked to take care of medical equipment on their own

"Considering that state governments are already under the tremendous financial burden of not getting their due GST, how do you expect the states to give its response," she said.

Chaturvedi wanted to speak with her face mask off. However, on the insistence of Deputy Chairman Harivansh, she put it back and participated in the discussion.

Praful Patel of the NCP, which is in a coalition government with the Shiv Sena and the Congress in Maharashtra, voiced concern over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country and called for a joint effort to deal with the pandemic.

He said all states have been following the central guidelines on lockdown as well as the unlocking process.

"When we all are fighting together, there is no need of pointing fingers at each other," Patel said.

He said the states were facing a fund crunch and sought the release of GST dues from the Centre.

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