Uddhav Thackeray says gatherings should be avoided, asks political parties to set example


THANE: Political parties should avoid holding public gatherings in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday.

He was addressing, through video link, an event to dedicate several public projects of the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation in the district.

Union Minister of State and BJP leader Kapil Patil also attended the program virtually from Delhi.

Parts of Kalyan fall in his Bhiwandi Lok Sabha constituency.

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“Political parties including the Shiv Sena should avoid public gatherings in view of the coronavirus threat,” the chief minister said on this occasion.

“We should set an example for people by observing discipline,” said Thackeray, who heads the Sena.

The chief minister also said that at the moment he would prefer to open “Arogya Mandir (health facilities) rather than religious temples, apparently referring to the opposition BJP’s agitation seeking reopening of temples in Maharashtra.

“Temples can be opened in a phased manner,” he said.

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To Patil’s demand that certain roads in the area which are in a poor shape be handed over to the Union government for better development and maintenance, Thackeray said he did not mind doing so.

There would always be political differences but when it comes to working for people, “we are all Jan Sevak,” the chief minister said.

“I can’t believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I had come to Kalyan together during your election campaign,” Thackeray said to Patil, referring to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the Shiv Sena and BJP were allies.

Now that Patil was part of the Union government, the state government can approach him for any Maharashtra-related work, the chief minister said.