The Indian Express | 1 day ago | 23-06-2022 | 02:45 pm
With Maharashtra plunged into a political crisis following a rebellion in the Shiv Sena, minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday posted a letter on his Twitter handle, listing a series of complaints that several party MLAs purportedly have against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.Written by Sanjay Shirsat, the Shiv Sena MLA from Aurangabad, the letter addressed to Uddhav accuses the chief minister of not being accessible to party MLAs, points to the interference of middlemen who prevented Sena MLAs from meeting him and says that it was the MLAs themselves who urged Shinde to “take this decision (of revolt)”.ही आहे आमदारांची भावना… pic.twitter.com/U6FxBzp1QG— Eknath Shinde – एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) June 23, 2022Written in Marathi, the letter dated June 22 alleges that the gates of Varsha (Uddhav’s official residence) were never open for Sena MLAs because of a few leaders around the chief minister and their issues were unheard. “Even after having a Shiv Sena chief minister, we Sena MLAs never got direct access to Varsha bungalow,” the letter says.“Yesterday, the doors of Varsha bungalow were literally opened to the public. Glad to see the crowd at the bungalow. These doors were closed for us as Shiv Sena MLAs for the last two-and-a-half years. To enter the bungalow as an MLA, we had to request and convince those who did not contest elections and became Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha members with our votes. These so-called Chanakyas were deciding strategy for Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections,” the letter reads.“The chief minister meets everyone on the sixth floor of the Secretariat, but for us, there is no question of the sixth floor because you have never been to the Mantralaya,” it further says.The letter alleges that Sena MLAs only got an opportunity to meet Uddhav “after many requests”. “…but we have to wait at the gate for hours and hours and when we would call, these Chanakyas (middlemen) would not take our call. Eventually, we used to get tired and leave,” the letter says. “Why were our own party MLAs, who have been elected after getting 3-4 lakh votes, treated in such an insulting manner,” Shirsat asks.Shirsat says that it was the MLAs who urged Shinde to revolt as they were suffering and needed justice. “All MLAs have suffered. Our issues were never heard by the people around you and it was not even conveyed to you. But at the same time, the doors of Eknath Shinde were open for us. The issues of our constituencies, funds, bureaucracy, insults from the Congress and NCP…were being heard by Shinde. Therefore, on the insistence of all the MLAs and for justice for all the MLAs, we made Shinde take this decision (of revolt),” the letter says.Complaining about how Sena MLAs would not get development funds, Shirsat says, “When we were not getting entry at Varsha bungalow, our real opposition Congress and NCP were meeting you regularly, were working in their constituency. They were showing letters of receipt of funds…they were laying foundation stones and holding inaugurations. Photos taken with you were going viral on social media. At that time, people in our constituency used to ask us, the chief minister is ours, right? Then how do our opponents get funds? How is their work getting done? We would be stressed answering voters in our constituency as you were not meeting us at all.”The letter also mentions how several Sena MLAs were “stopped” from going to Ayodhya. “Aren’t Hindutva and Ayodhya Ram Mandir on the agenda of Shiv Sena? So, when Aaditya Thackeray had gone to Ayodhya, why did you stop us from going to Ayodhya? You yourself called and told many MLAs not to go to Ayodhya,” the letter reads.Shirsat says that he and his colleagues were at Mumbai airport and had even checked in their luggage when they were asked to return, allegedly at Uddhav’s behest. “Just as we were about to board the plane, you called Shinde and told him not to let the MLAs go to Ayodhya…Shinde immediately told us…We took back our checked-in baggage and reached home,” Shirsat says. “Shiv Sena did not split a single vote in the Rajya Sabha elections. Why were we not allowed to visit Ram Lalla?”Shirsat says that the MLAs trust Shinde “who is following the Hindutva of Bal Thackeray and Anand Dighe” and adds that “his doors were always open” for them.The letter concludes by referring to Uddhav’s emotional address to his party MLAs on Wednesday. “Everything you said yesterday, everything that happened was very emotional, but it did not answer our basic questions. So I had to write this emotional letter to convey our feelings to you,” Shirsat says.
MUMBAI: While Covid-19 cases dipped in Maharashtra on Friday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to lakhs of warkaris walking towards Pandharpur during Ashadhi Wari to use face masks to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The state had registered its highest single-day tally in this surge on Thursday at 5,218, but cases dropped by 20% to 4,205 on Friday. Mumbai saw a 24% drop, with 1,898 cases registered on Friday. "We had a problem updating our data on the ICMR website for a couple of days and that led to a bunching up of cases on Thursday. But the data is now updated and Mumbai is back to reporting less than 2,000 cases a day," said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare. Two nonagenarians with chronic conditions succumbed to Covid-related complications in Mumbai while the neighbouring Thane city registered a death. Daily hospitalisations which had gone past 100 dropped on Friday to 96. The daily test positivity rate which had increased to 20% a few days back was 12% for the second consecutive day. Dr Gomare said that cases should start plateauing soon. Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is a member of the state Covid task force, said that despite the surge, patients are recovering with minimum medication within a few days. "There is no need to panic at all,'' he said. The surge has been limited to five districts-Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Palghar and Raigad-but the state administration is worried about the Pandharpur yatra. Of the 4,205 cases on Thursday, 3,354 (80%) were detected in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. A state official said, "Active cases in the state have crossed 25,000 as compared to 626 a couple of months back. In this backdrop, the chief minister held a video-conference instructing district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police superintendents to take steps to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.'' Meanwhile, another patient of BA.5 variant has been detected in Nagpur. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said a fully vaccinated 27-year-old female tested Covid-positive on June 19. "She was mildly symptomatic initially but has since become asymptomatic and is stable and in home isolation,'' he added. The total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases in the state has increased to 26-15 in Pune, five in Mumbai, four in Nagpur and two in Thane.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday told the state administration that development works shouldn’t be held up due to the ongoing political crisis in the state. Thackeray on Friday held a virtual review meeting attended by divisional commissioners, district collectors, municipal commissioners and secretaries of government departments at the state secretariat.Speaking to the bureaucrats, he said that when took over as the chief minister two-and-a-half years ago, he had no experience of administration and the bureaucrats guided him. He added that while he did not know how long this political deadlock would continue, but the bureaucrats were always welcome at either Matoshree or Varsha bungalows.“Don’t hold up important development works related to welfare of people. Get in touch with me directly,” Thackeray said. He added, “There is always uncertainty in politics… Political manoeuvres will go on but governance shouldn’t stop. The administration should ensure that people’s day-to-day issues are resolved immediately.”A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said that at the meeting, Thackeray reviewed the current Covid-19 situation in the state, sowing operations for kharif crops, availability of urea, disaster management preparedness and facilities for warkaris (devotees) at Pandharpur temple town for the upcoming ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’ festival.WITH inputs from PTI
Even as the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is currently facing a survival crisis due to a rebellion by Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde, the state departments – mostly controlled by allies NCP and Congress – have issued government orders for the release of funds worth thousands of crores in the last four days for development works.This has prompted Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, Pravin Darekar, to write to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The BJP has sought the Governor’s intervention to curb the “rush of GRs (government resolutions)” seen over the past few days, which it termed as “suspicious”.Between June 20 and 23, the departments have issued 182 GRs, while on June 17, 107 such GRs were passed. These orders can be found on the government’s official website. Although Shinde’s rebellion became public on June 21 morning, his growing discomfort had been sensed by the Sena’s allies NCP and Congress. Since the ruling partners had sensed what was coming, the departments controlled by these parties went on a spree to issue the GRs, sources said.The water supply and sanitation department, headed by Sena’s Gulabrao Patil, issued over 84 GRs on June 17. Most of the orders were pertaining to sanction of funds, administrative approvals and for salaries of staff working on various water supply schemes. Patil was among the last Sena legislators who joined the rebel camp headed by Shinde by reaching in Guwahati.June 17 was a Friday – the last working day of the week – and MLC elections took place on Monday. During the June 20 and 23 period, the least number of GRs – 28 – were issued on Monday. On the following day, 66 GRs were issued. In the past two days – on June 22 and 23 – the government has issued 44 and 43 orders, respectively.As per the data, since Monday, the departments controlled by NCP and Congress went on a spree as over 70 per cent of the 182 orders were issued. The departments such as social justice, water resources, skill development, housing development, finance and home, being headed by the NCP, have issued maximum number of GRs.Some GRs were issued by the Congress-controlled departments such as tribal development, revenue, PWD, school education, OBC and fisheries. The soil and conservation department, handled by Independent MLA and Minister Shankarrao Gadakh, passed nearly 20 orders.During the last four days, only a couple of GRs from the departments controlled by Sena were issued. The GRs were issued by the industries department, Marathi language handled by the outgoing minister Subhash Desai and also tourism department helmed by Aaditya Thackeray. But apart from these three, no other departments handled by the Sena issue any GR.A couple of GRs were issued by the tribal development department controlled by Congress, which are cumulatively worth over Rs 1,000 crore. The finance department, controlled by Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar, issued a GR increasing the local area development funds to Rs 319 crore.In a letter to Koshyari, BJP’s Darekar said, “Some 160 government resolutions were issued by the MVA in the last 48 hours, which looks suspicious. I request you to intervene in this matter and put a curb on it.”The BJP leader also alleged that there was a plan to transfer some key officials in the state, including those from the home department.A top bureaucrat said, “Some IAS officers are not coming to the Mantralaya, as they do not want to be a part of such decisions that can attract controversy later.”–With PTI inputs
The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising of Shiv Sena, Congress, and Nationalist Congress Party, appears to be on the verge of collapse, as Sena’s senior minister Eknath Shinde has revolted against his party and claims to have the support of more than 40 Sena MLAs.Shinde is currently in BJP-ruled Assam and staying with rebels in a luxury hotel and termed the MVA alliance as “unnatural”. He said Sena must come of the alliance for the party’s survival.On the other hand, the party has appealed to Shinde and his supporters to return to Maharashtra with CM Uddhav Thackeray stating that he is willing to step down if that is what his party wants.Here is a timeline of the ongoing political crisis that began from the wee hours of Tuesday morning. (Descending order)–BJP’s Maharashtra unit chief Chandrakant Patil asserted that his party did not play any role in the ongoing political crisis but admits that Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis visited Delhi on Thursday “for some work”, without divulging any details.–Shiv Sena minister and MP Sanjay Raut admitted that the party’s numbers in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly have dwindled, but expressed confidence that the rebel MLAs will support the MVA combine during the floor test.–All 37 rebel Sena MLAs who are camping in Guwahati sent a letter to Maharashtra Assembly’s Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, stating that Shinde will remain their group leader in the legislature.–Raut said his party is open to considering quitting the ruling alliance if the rebel MLAs camping in Assam return and discuss their grievances with CM Uddhav Thackeray.–NCP president Sharad Pawar said the fate of the MVA government will be decided on the floor of the Assembly, and the MVA will prove its majority in a trust vote.–Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab appears before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai for the third day in a row in connection with a money laundering case.–Six MLAs and an MLC from Gujarat arrived in neighbouring Gujarat’s Surat city, later flew to Guwahati.–Shinde says a “national party” has termed their revolt “historic” and assured to provide all help to them.–The NCP asserted it will do all it can to save ruling alliance MVA and was firmly with Uddhav.–Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the BJP and the Centre of attempting to destabilise the MVA government to form its own government and get the numbers for the upcoming presidential election.–The opposition Trinamool Congress in Assam held a massive protest outside the luxury hotel in Guwahati where dissident Shiv Sena MLAs from Maharashtra are camping.–Shiv Sena MLA Kailas Patil, who had escaped from a car carrying rebel legislators to Surat, claimed some of those taken to the camp led by Shinde might be wanting to return.–Congress said it does not want to interfere in Sena’s “internal matter” but asserted confidence in Uddhav.–Uddhav on Wednesday night vacated his official residence in south Mumbai and moved to a family home in suburban Bandra.–A BJP leader from Delhi filed a complaint against Uddhav for allegedly violating COVID-19 related protocols by meeting his supporters while heading to his personal residence from his official house.–Raut says Uddhav will remain the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the ruling coalition MVA will prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly if needed.–Shinde said ruling MVA was an “unnatural alliance” and it was imperative for his party to walk out of the coalition for its own sake and that of party workers.–Shiv Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh claimed that some people had forcibly admitted him to a hospital and he was administered injections.–Shinde claimed that he has the support of 34 MLAs of his party and passes a resolution reinstating himself as the leader of the Shiv Sena legislative party.–Sena hinted at dissolution of the Assembly.–AICC observer Kamal Nath met Pawar in Mumbai.–Sena asked all its MLAs in Maharashtra, including the rebels accompanying Shinde, to attend a legislature party meeting in Mumbai on Wednesday evening or face action under the anti-defection law.–Shiv Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh returned to his home state of Maharashtra with five other partymen.–Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said Uddhav has made it clear that there was no proposal to recommend dissolution of the state Assembly.–Shinde asserted that 40 MLAs have accompanied him to Guwahati.–Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was admitted to a private hospital in south Mumbai after testing Coronavirus positive.–A group of 40 Maharashtra MLAs, led by Shinde, arrived in Guwahati and were taken to a luxury hotel on the outskirts of the city.–Sena housed its MLAs in different hotels in Mumbai–Hundreds of Shiv Sena workers gathered outside the Shiv Sena headquarters in Mumbai to express solidarity with party president Uddhav.–Two leaders of Shiv Sena dispatched by Uddhav met and held a detailed discussion with Shinde and other MLAs at a hotel in Surat to defuse the crisis.–Chandrakant Patil said some MLAs of the BJP will meet Shinde camping in a Surat hotel in their “personal capacity”.–Pawar alleged that a third attempt is being made to pull down the MVA government.–Shinde and some MLAs of his party went incommunicado and found camping in Surat.–Party legislator Nitin Deshmukh’s wife filed a police complaint of her husband going ‘missing’–Congress deputed Kamal Nath as AICC observer in the state.–Shinde and some other Shiv Sena MLAs from the state found camping at a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat city.(With inputs from Press Trust of India)
With Daily Covid cases crossing the 5000-mark in Maharashtra and considering the possibility of increased transmission of the infection during the Ashadhi Wari, which sees lakhs of devotees heading out of Pune towards Pandharpur, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has instructed key officials to stay alert and undertake measures to avert major outbreaks.Dr Pradeep Awate, Maharashtra surveillance officer, told The Indian Express that the CM had conducted a meeting via video conferencing with all District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and District Police Superintendents on Friday. “The concern is that that the Ashadi Wari may enhance transmission as residents of cities like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Raigad and Palghar, where the Covid weekly positivity rate is high, may participate in the wari. We cannot rule out the possibility of this infection then spreading to areas where there are very few active cases,” Dr Awate said.Active cases in the state have reached 25,000 compared to 626 a couple of months back. Around 4,205 new cases were detected in the state on Friday while the case fatality rate stood at 1.85 per cent.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe Chief Minister, during the meeting, said that even though mask use is not mandatory in the state, those participating in the Ashadhi Wari, and even others, should wear masks regularly.Meanwhile, according to the latest report of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, a patient of BA.5 variant has been reported from the district. The patient is a 27-year-old fully vaccinated woman who tested positive for Covid-19 on June 19. “Initially, she was mildly symptomatic. At present, she is asymptomatic, stable and in home isolation,” Dr Awate said.With this, the total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases found in state has gone up to 26. Pune has reported 15 cases so far followed by Mumbai (5), Nagpur (4) and Thane (2).