Pawar, the veteran politician considered to be the stabilising force in the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP coalition in Maharashtra, also said the Covid-19 situation is “turning around” in the state and that the state government is in talks with industry leaders about reopening business activities.
Maharashtra is India’s richest state and also the most severely Covid-hit. “I don’t know what the Centre has in mind. But, I think, we have to now start opening up and working more and more. It is important for the business, industry, factories, workforce and economy as a whole to resume more activities even as we are fighting the pandemic,” Pawar said. “We are holding talks among ourselves (coalition allies) and consulting captains of industry and experts on how can we move forward,” he said.
‘Package Failed Expectations’
Major cities like Mumbai have seen fewer relaxations than metros like Delhi and Bengaluru.
On the recent economic measures announced by the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) government at the Centre, Pawar said: “Most of those announcements were about banks and other financial institutions offering loans and credits. There was hardly any concrete stimulus package to help any sector, including business. Package failed expectations.”
On Maharashtra politics, Pawar staunchly defended CM Thackeray who has faced criticism for the situation in the state. “Uddhav Thackeray is new to the government and legislature…he has many experienced ministers in his cabinet, from Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. I must say Thackeray has emerged as a good CM and a good team leader. He holds regular consultations with coalition partners and the CM himself spends long hours attending to his duties,” Sharad Pawar said.
“All the parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) are working together and our government is, and will, run smoothly. No question about any instability here. The last few days’ talks about troubles in the coalition and the buzz about the dismissal of the government came from the press conferences being held by a BJP leader (Devendra Fadnavis).”