Maharashtra has spiralled into a Coronavirus hotspot state rather quickly with the number of positive cases crossing the 52,000 mark. The state now contributes over a third of the Coronavirus cases in the entire country, with Mumbai being most severely affected. While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has drawn sharp criticism for his handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, Rahul Gandhi, during a press interaction today distanced Congress from the mess being created in the alliance government ruled state.
Maharashtra, which is currently being ruled by an alliance government of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, with a Shiv Sena chief minister has now squarely been abandoned by the Congress. Today, during a press conference held by Rahul Gandhi, he was asked about the Coronavirus pandemic and its spread in Maharashtra.
Responding to the question, Rahul Gandhi said that since Maharashtra is most connected and owing to the nature of the state, the spread of the virus in the state was inevitable. However, shielding Congress from sharing any of the governance blame, Rahul Gandhi also said that Congress is not in a decision making role in Maharashtra.
Rahul Gandhi said that there is a difference between running the government and supporting the government in the state. He said that Congress can be considered to be in a decision making role in states like Punjab and Rajasthan, but not in Maharashtra.
While distancing himself from the mess in Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi also tried to shield his ally, Shiv Sena, by saying that the central government must extend every possible help to the state of Maharashtra in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. He also said that Maharashtra is fighting a difficult battle, as are many other states, and there should be full support to the state and its people.
Effectively, what Rahul Gandhi seems to have done is put the entire onus of the mess on Shiv Sena and distance his own party, Congress, from the misgovernance the state has seen so far. This claim rings hollow considering Congress has several important ministries in Maharashtra including Education, energy, public works, revenue etc. For Rahul Gandhi to say that Congress is not a key decision maker in Maharashtra is a shoddy attempt of shielding his party from partaking in the misgovernance that has marred the state during the pandemic.
Either way, the undercurrent of Congress trying to distance itself from Maharashtra governance has been rather clear even before Rahul Gandhi spoke up.
Only recently, Sanjay Nirupam had tweeting exposing the abysmal condition of hospitals in Maharashtra amidst the Coronavirus crisis. Nirupam tweeted, “After Sion hospital, this is Rajawadi hospital of Ghatkopar where dead body is lying for hours in an open patient ward.#BMC officials incharge particularly the dean of the hospital must be sacked immediately for this inhuman act”. He followed his tweet up with the hashtag “shameful”.
After Sion hospital, this is Rajawadi hospital of Ghatkopar where deadbody is lying for hours in an open patient ward.#BMC officials incharge particularly the dean of the hospital must be sacked immediately for this inhuman act.#Shamefull #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/N5HicGt07w— Sanjay Nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) May 24, 2020
Then, Prithviraj Chavan, veteran Congress leader had recently remarked that the Maharashtra government is one which is not run by the Maha Vikas Aghadi but one run only by Shiv Sena.
It is apparent that the Congress party, headed by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are all set to pin the blame of the COVID-19 mess in Maharashtra squarely on Uddhav Thackeray, who had compromised not only politically but also ideologically in his greed for the Chief Minister’s chair while forming an alliance with Congress and NCP.