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CM Uddhav Thackeray slams BJP’s Ashirvad yatras amid third COVID wave threat in Maharashtra

Mumbai: With the threat of third COVID-19 wave looming large, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday (August 31) slammed BJP’s Ashirvad yatras for putting people’s lives at risk.

He cited the Centre’s letter that warned against festival gatherings and said that those who still want to protest against orders banning crowds should take note of it.

“Central government has also said that the third wave of COVID-19 is expected and has asked states, through a letter, to avoid gatherings during Dahi Handi and Ganeshotsav. We should show this letter to those who want to protest,” Thackeray said in a virtual address after inaugurating an oxygen plant in Thane.

“Some people want to take out yatras. This is so unfortunate. People are organizing events and putting the life of the common man in danger,” he added.

The CM said that “these people do not seem to care if some people die due to such rallies.”

Thackeray’s statement comes after newly-appointed union ministers of BJP organised “Jan Ashirwad” rallies across the country to take the blessings of people.

He said when Sena was formed it was announced that the party will do 80 per cent social work and 20 per cent politics.

“But today there are parties in the country that are 100 per cent into politics. They do not want to do any work that will benefit the people but they are organising rallies and events that would put their lives in danger,” he said.

Thackeray admitted that he was missing the excitement of Dahi Handi due to restrictions, which do not allow public celebrations of the festival.

“I must admit that I am missing the excitement of Dahi Handi and the celebrations for the last couple of years. I had personally attended some such events in the past,” Thackeray said.

Notably, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) celebrated the traditional ‘Dahi Handi’ festival in Thane and neighbouring Palghar district, even though the celebrations have been banned in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.