Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray -- fighting battles both on political and public health front -- today assured people that he would face it all with their support. "Whatever political storms come, I will face... I will fight coronavirus too," he said at a televised public address in the state today.
The address came two days after the latest controversy to hit the government -- the assault on a 66-year-old retired Naval officer who had shared a cartoon of the Chief Minister on social media. It has been alleged that supporters of the ruling Shiv Sena were responsible.
The incident -- coupled with the government's handling of actor Sushant Rajput's death and the row over actor Kangana Ranaut's comments -- has given the BJP more ammunition. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has now accused the government of propagating "state-sponsored terror".
"Over the last few days, we have done a lot of work (on coronavirus)... we will fight the political crisis too," Mr Thackeray said today.
"Whatever storms have reached the state, be it natural or political, the government has been fighting them," added the Chief Minister, whose government has been trading barbs with the BJP for the last three months -- since the death of actor Sushant Rajput's death in June.
Over the last weeks it has also found itself embroiled in a battle with Kangana Ranaut, which starting with Sushant Rajput's death, has escalated fast.
The latest twist involves a drugs probe ordered against Ms Ranaut by the Maharashtra government. The investigation started two days after her office in Mumbai was partly demolished by civic officials over alleged illegal alterations.
Ms Ranaut had said she felt unsafe in Mumbai and then compared the country's financial capital to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. She also said the Brihanmumbai Corporation's demolition at her office was vendetta as Sena controls the civic body and in a video posted on Twitter, attacked Uddhav Thackeray.
Party sources said Mr Thackeray was advised to drop the issue by Sharad Pawar, the veteran leader of ally Nationalist Congress Party. Mr Pawar had said Ms Ranaut's comments were best ignored – an option Mr Thackeray has refused to consider in view of his core votebank.
On a different front, the Sena also has to placate the Maratha population, which has been deeply upset by the Supreme Court's refusal to uphold the Martha quota for jobs or college admissions granted by Bombay High Court.
"I assure you that we will fight for justice for you. Even in last government, all four parties worked towards giving reservation to the Maratha community. And we will fight for it. We have best of legal counsels with us… But I appeal to you to not come out on roads protesting as the Covid crisis is looming large," the Chief Minister said.
Maharashtra has the maximum number of coronavirus cases in the country. The state reported a total of 10,37,765 cases this morning.