Entering the sixth month of the year 2020, being alive, is considered a great achievement nowadays! Although India has introduced certain relaxations to the lockdown, it is still struggling against the virus. As of June 5, 2020, India recorded over 9,800 COVID-19 positive cases in a single day.
The Chief Ministers of the 28 Indian states are surely coming up with steps to improve the living conditions of their residents. Some have succeeded in fattening the virus’ curve, whereas some others continue to lurk behind. That is where the spotlight now goes to Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra’s Chief Minister (CM).
Journey of Uddhav Thackery towards CM of Maharashtra:
Mr. Thackeray accepted his position as the Maharashtrian CM on November 28, 2019. Unlike his father, the late Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder of the Shiv Sena party, he was reluctant to resort to violent tactics under the party, after becoming the party’s in-charge in 2004. For most of his life, he preferred staying out from major political activities and utilizing his time to work towards the well-being of the people. He is a composed person, who is a well-established author and photographer.
As it is evident from the news headlines, Maharashtra is the state severely affected by the coronavirus, with cases close to 75,000. Being one among the four metropolitan cities of India, it is defined to be the place that never sleeps. Does that mean that the people should undergo the tormented because of the insufficient steps undertaken by the state government?
Uddhav Thackeray the leader of transformation!
On the one hand, Mr. Thackeray is seen as one who brought a change in the Shiv Sena party’s behavior from showcasing violence to creating a calmer Maharashtra. During the COVID-19 pandemic in India;
- He changed the opinion of his worst critics and those that were never really his fans, by maintaining his calm and composed personality;
- He used Facebook as a platform to have Live interactions with the people, where he addresses the depth of the problems lead by the pandemic and also provides solutions. To do the same, he receives assistance from his eldest son, Aadithya Thackeray, and an efficient team at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). He used the social media platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter) to the maximum to reach the mass;
- Many a time, he has come up with practical solutions to several doubts put forward by the citizens. Congress spokesperson, Sachin Sawant, said that the CM’s simple and humble demeanor had established a direct link with the people;
- Caroline Samson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Concept Analysis Multimedia, considers Mr. Thackeray as a family man discharging the same feeling to all those around him. She continues, “Today, when we are all locked in our houses with only our family, the CM talks to us gently. He is aware of the perils families go through. He is honest with people. We know he is doing his best;” He voiced out that the nationwide lockdown is not to be lifted even after May 31, 2020, after taking into consideration the increase in the number of cases of people affected by the deadly virus;
- On June 5, 2020, he visited Alibag villages in Raigad district, which were hit by the Nisarga cyclone and announced a financial aid amounting to Rs. 100 crores;
- In the first week of June 2020, he announced that the state is scaling up its coronavirus-testing labs from seventy-seven to one hundred.
Despite all this, the citizens, still feel that the CM has not done complete justice to his position as the Maharashtrian CM, mainly since the highest number of positive cases arose and continue to spring up from that state. Besides:-
- It is not fair when compared to Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s most populated state. Due to the practical and timely measures adopted by the CM of UP, the positive cases in the state are nine times lower than that of Maharashtra;
- Recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Devendra Fadnavis, wrote to Mr. Thackeray that the drop in COVID-19 tests in Maharashtra is a highly severe and unacceptable matter and that the state has to resort to “aggressive testing quickly”;
- Even during the lockdown, he did not maintain proper communication with his fellow ministers or bureaucrats and kept track of the situation regularly;
- He had stated on June 5, 2020, that the state Government employees must come to the office, and failure to follow this would result in a pay cut. He ignored the fact that this could, later on, putting the health of employees at risk, considering the community spread of the virus happening in the state;
- Instead of admitting that he had not taken adequate steps to improve the state’s prevailing situation, he blamed the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Central Government for not providing any funds to the state. However, Devendra Fadnavis exposed this by delivering the actual facts, to which the Maharashtrian CM and the State Government had no response or reaction;
- It is impossible to deny that a large number of migrant laborers were forced to leave the state, as being deprived of ration and any other sort of help from the State Government;
- The state was not at all ‘medically prepared’ to handle the battle against the deadly virus.
On one side of the coin, the argument exists that Mr. Thackeray is the best Head that the state has had so far. On the other side, doubts exist as to his capability as an efficient CM. It seems that the coin has to land right on its edge for striking a balance between the two extremes.