Will take measures to save lives despite criticism: Maharashtra CM

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav

Thackeray on Wednesday said his first priority is to ensure people's safety amid the coronavirus pandemic and he did not mind if he became a "villain" in someone's eyes for that.

Speaking in the Assembly, he also warned that those behaving in irresponsible way and endangering others' lives would be put in jail.

"The Me Jababdar" (I will be responsible) campaign (of the state government) is for those who are calling for opening this and that (easing restrictions). And for ourselves.

"My family will be safe if I remain safe," Thackeray said.

"Don't wear masks if you don't want to. But I cannot say that because I care for the people of my state. Therefore I said I will take care of the lives of people even if someone wants to brand me as a villain," he said.

The chief minister's comments came after opposition leaders picked holes in the government's initiatives such as the Me Jababdar campaign which are aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.

BJP leaders contributed money to the PM Cares Fund

when the Maharashtra government was seeking donations (to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund) for dealing with the pandemic, he said.

"I feel a bit ashamed that your money did not go to Maharashtra but went to Delhi," Thackeray said.

"But who will give the account of PM Cares Fund...You won't. And they are not bound to answer," Thackeray said, adding nobody has the courage to ask such questions in the first place.

"If you ask questions, then....," he said as some MLAs of the ruling coalition shouted "you will be labeled deshdrohi (anti-national)".

The chief minister urged people to maintain physical distance, wear masks and wash hands regularly so that a fresh lockdown does not become necessary.

The state government had requested the Centre to increase the number of vaccination centres in Mumbai and allow big hospitals to run vaccination centres, he said.

"I think 29 hospitals in Mumbai have been allowed now (to vaccinate people). We are trying to complete vaccination at the earliest," the chief minister added.

Thackeray, meanwhile, also urged all the parties in the state to unite and put pressure on the Centre for the grant of classical language status for Marathi and also on the issue of Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute.

He also said the contentious Kanjurmarg site was well- suited for a Mumbai metro car depot considering the needs for the next 50 years, and all the parties should work together to resolve it.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel