But Thackeray keeps his visits to the Mantralaya (secretariat) to the minimal and attends the cabinet meetings mostly through video conferencing. One-on-one meetings with officials are either held at Matoshree or at the Mayor’s Bungalow at Dadar which has been designated as a memorial for the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
But the chief minister is drawing a lot of flak from several quarters for not touring the state and for “not stepping outside his home”.
Infact, Sharad Pawar, in an interview to a Marathi news channel in July, said: “Since he is the head of the government, he (Uddhav) is expected to monitor the situation from one place. However, that does not mean that one should do it permanently. In between he is expected to tour the state.. and meet people and take them into confidence. This is yet to happen”.
After Pawar’s remarks, Uddhav toured a few parts of the state. However, there has been criticism again that he is not stepping outside, especially when there seems to be no sign of Covid cases coming down and several parts of Maharashtra like Vidarbha are submerged under flood waters.
On Wednesday, BJP Leader Pravin Darekar described Uddhav as the chief minister who, “In Maharashtra’s history has stayed the most at home, without stepping outside. He will be known as the CM who has not had any contact with any people. He simply does not step outside his home.”
The same day Congress leader Ashish Deshmukh from Vidarbha told reporters that he expected Uddhav to at least conduct an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas.
Not just politicians, a news channel has also started carrying a special news package showing the lack of coordination among the state agencies during the pandemic and the floods in Mumbai and asked the chief minister to ‘step outside his home’ and tour the state.
The clamour for Uddhav to step outside comes even as other leaders are travelling throughout the state and interacting with people. Sharad Pawar continues to travel throughout the state while his nephew, Ajit Pawar, meets officials at the Mantralaya at 8.30 am for meetings and also travels through the state.
Maharashtra’s opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis is currently touring Vidarbha. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has claimed that Uddhav is working as per the Covid ‘protocol’.
“Right now, both Uddhav and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are functioning the same way. His (Uddhav’s) political rivals should know that both PM and the Home Minister are sitting in Delhi and working. Every chief minister is working in the same manner,” said Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut.
“If the CM goes anywhere, then there are crowds, several officials come. If the health protocol is not being broken by the PM and President, then why should the chief minister break it. He (Uddhav) is attending meetings and co ordinating with officials through video conferencing,” said the Sena MP.