- Fight against Covid not political but to save lives, said Sanjay Raut
- Maharashtra had managed to control Covid spread in slums, said Mr Raut
- Despite recoveries in Maharashtra, opposition is criticising us, he said
The fight against coronavirus was not a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in parliament as he defended the Maharashtra government's efforts to contain the pandemic which has affected over 10 lakh people in the state. The state government had managed to control the spread of the pandemic in slum clusters like Dharavi, an effort which had drawn appreciation from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Mr Raut said.
These recoveries didn't happen by eating "Bhabhi ji papad", the Sena leader sarcastically remarked, apparently referring to Union Minister and BJP leader Arjun Ram Meghwal's claim in July that the papad brand had the capacity to develop anti-bodies against coronavirus in the body. Mr Meghwal had later tested positive for the virus.
The Shiv Sena MP said that though the confirmed cases from the state were the highest, it had managed to successfully cure majority of those infected with the deadly virus.
"My mother and my brother are infected with Covid. More than 30,000 people have recovered from COVID in Maharashtra. How did it happen? Today, the situation in Dharavi is under control. WHO has appreciated the efforts of BMC," Mr Raut said in the Rajya Sabha.
Despite these effort, Mr Raut said, the opposition was only concerned in criticising the state government.
"I want to ask the members how did so many people recover? Kya log bhabhi ji ke papad kha karke theek ho gaye? (Did they recover by eating Bhabhiji's papad (snack)? This isn't a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people," he said referring to Mr Meghawal.
Mr Meghawal party, the BJP, has been at the forefront in criticising the state government over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis with Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, alleging that the Uddhav Thackeray government was trying to slow the number of testing to show that the pandemic has been controlled in the state.
Mr Fadnavis has also claimed all government decisions taken so far were only on paper while the ground situation was different. He has also alleged that the jumbo facilities set up for treating COVID-19 patients were mired in corruption and have not benefited the needy.
"The government has to understand that there is an increase in the percentage of virus spread," he noted. He also targeted the government for incidents of atrocities against women in COVID-19 care centres.
Maharashtra -- which still accounts for nearly a quarter of the new daily cases -- reported 23,365 new infections on Wednesday.
This morning, India's Covid tally crossed the 51-lakh mark as the country reported 97,894 new cases in last 24 hours. Over 11 lakh of these cases are from Maharashtra.