MUMBAI: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government is divided over imposing lockdown in Maharashtra following a rise in Covid-19 cases. CM Uddhav Thackeray is reportedly in favour of the lockdown while alliance partners Congress and NCP have gone along with the BJP in opposing the second lockdown. Instead, they have demanded stringent containment measures.
Uddhav had earlier asked the state health task force to prepare a plan for the lockdown if the number of cases did not come down. However, NCP minister Nawab Malik said his party told the CM that the state could not afford the second lockdown. “The pandemic has broken the economic cycle. Unlike last year, people have just started coming out from the financial crisis, factories are running and things are quite better. If the government re-imposes the lockdown, the poor will suffer the most. Lockdown should be kept as a last resort,” said the NCP minister.
Former CM Prithviraj Chavan demanded financial compensation for the people who would lose their means of earning in case a lockdown was imposed. He said if health experts favoured a lockdown even though elected representatives have a different opinion, then a lockdown for limited days should be considered in containment areas.
“The salary of MLAs and MP’s should be deducted, if required, to partially make up for the funds to be made available for the affected people,” said Chavan. State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil also demanded cash compensation of Rs 5,000 to be directly transferred to the poor pe ple’s accounts before considering a second lockdown.