No local body polls in Maharashtra till 70 per cent of people vaccinated: Minister

Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif on Monday said there will be no elections to local bodies in the state till 70 per cent population is vaccinated against COVID-19.

Till Sunday, 2,76,99,419 people were inoculated against COVID-19 in Maharashtra, according to the health department.

NCP leader Mushrif was talking to reporters in Kolhapur when he was asked about Maharashtra minister and Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar’s comment that he would not allow local bodies polls to be held in the state till the OBC quota issue is resolved.

“Due to corona, there will be no elections till 70 per cent vaccination is done. So, till then, the quota issue will also be resolved,” Mushrif said.

To a query about Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray wherein he alleged that the Congress and NCP were weakening the Shiv Sena by creating divisions in its ranks, Mushrif dubbed it as an attempt by the BJP to destablise the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.

The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress share power in the state.

Mushrif said, “The Congress and NCP are nowhere in the state working to weaken the Shiv Sena. In fact, both the parties are working to strengthen the MVA government and the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray.”

“Sarnaik has been on the BJP’s radar ever since he moved a breach of privilege notice against (actor) Kangana Ranaut and (journalist) Arnab Goswami,” Mushrif claimed.

He said Sarnaik’s claim in the latter of he and his family members being harassed by central investigating agencies was a cause of concern.

Mushrif wondered “why the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is not making public who is the mastermind behind placing the explosives-laden vehicle near the residence of industrialist Mukesh Ambani” here in February.

Policemen of inspector and assistant inspector rank, including Sachin Waze, have been arrested in connection with the case and dismissed from service. “But, former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, to whom all these arrested policemen reported, is still moving scot-free,” he said.

“The CBI is probing a baseless allegation made by Param Bir Singh against (NCP leader) Anil Deshmukh and he had to resign from the post of state home minister. Such attempts to destablise the government will not work,” Mushrif said.

He also said that if NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Shiv Sena head Uddhav Thackeray wish, the MVA government will continue even for 25 years.

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