The coalition government in Maharashtra, which many had predicted would not survive beyond a few months, has completed two years in the office.
The Shiv Sena-led alliance with ideologically opposite partners, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, was formed after the Shiv Sena and the BJP parted ways in-spite of the pre-poll alliance winning a majority as the BJP refused to keep its promise of sharing the Chief Ministership in the state.
Uddhav Thackeray then took reins of the state in 2019 just months before the Covid pandemic struck. But in spite of hiccups like the removal of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh for his handling of the Antilia Bomb scare case and the subsequent stepping down of Home Minister Anil Deshmukh after Mr Singh's allegations against him, two cyclones and other problems, the government has managed to keep its flock together and tackle the challenges thrown at it by an unrelenting BJP which smarting from the loss of power after being politically outmaneuvered.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was admitted to hospital after ignoring a spine issue for last year or so, tweeted this morning saying, "I wholeheartedly thank the people of Maharashtra for supporting the Government like their own! No matter how many more crises come our way, the state government will continue to work for the welfare of the common man."
I wholeheartedly thank the people of Maharashtra for supporting the Government like their own! No matter how many more crises come our way, the state government will continue to work for the welfare of the common man.— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) November 28, 2021
-CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray#2YearsofMahaVikas
Mr Thackeray added that the most part of his government's two-year tenure was spent on COVID-19 management and that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) succeeded in turning the crisis into an opportunity.
In a statement to mark the completion of his two years in office, Mr Thackeray, who is recuperating in a private hospital after a spine surgery, thanked the people for supporting his government in all its endeavours and said it is the "people's government".
"We did not panic during man-made and natural calamities and our focus remained on the welfare of the common man. Most part of the last two years went in COVID-19 management. We succeeded in turning the crisis into an opportunity," the Chief Minister said.
There is a vast difference between health, medical facilities and infrastructure that existed two years ago and now, he claimed.
Mr Thackeray said there was no negativity in his government and the administration while tackling the pandemic.
"We have worked hard in improving the industrial investment, agriculture infrastructure, housing, employment, water supply, solar energy, environment, tourism, forest and the focus has been on how the government's efforts will ensure welfare of the common man," he said.
Under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule farm loan waiver scheme, debts of cultivators to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore have been waived off, the Chief Minister said. The state government has provided Rs 2,600 crore to hospitals and 14.4 lakh people have been treated free of cost under the Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Scheme, he added.
The Chief Minister also highlighted several landmark policy decisions in a series of tweets. From creating 6,490 Covid facilities including Jumbo centres in major cities with over 4 lakh isolation beds, over 1.32 lakh oxygen beds, over 38,000 ICU beds and 11 crore vaccine doses Maharashtra's handling of Covid has come in for praise in spite of the state being the worst hit.
He further highlighted the state's efforts to retain the importance of the financial capital Mumbai by announcing that over ₹3 lakh crore has been invested in the state over the past two years with 59 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) that will create three lakh jobs.
He also underlined Maharashtra's efforts to cut emissions and tackle climate change with its new Electric Vehicle (EV) policy which was unveiled in July 2021 which aims to achieve 25% electrification of public transport and last mile delivery vehicles by 2025.
One of the decisions that has seen scrutiny is the decision to move the controversial Metro 3 car shed out of the Aarey Colony, a green oasis. The Chief Minister pointed out the government's decision to move the car shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg and the subsequent decision to convert 808 acres of Aarey as a reserved forest and other decisions to protect bio-diversity sites, mangroves and other conservation reserves. He also highlighted the state's agro-tourism policy that opens the doors for tourists to live with local families in rural areas.
(With inputs from PTI)