Row Over Report of PM Not Taking Uddhav’s Calls Amid WB Campaign

Eshwar Ranjana
·4 min read

A war of words erupted between Maharashtra and the Centre over claims that Prime Minister Modi was unavailable to take the calls of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over oxygen supply to the state. However, the PM was in West Bengal for an election campaign.

Thackeray had been reportedly dialing Modi as Maharashtra faces an acute shortage of oxygen amid a ferocious second wave that has gripped the state.

However, Union Minister Piyush Goyal took to Twitter to call the claims “shameless politics of an inept government.”

Also Read: Will Maharashtra COVID Lockdown Work Despite Trade Pushback?

The Claim

It all began after India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted a clip of the channel’s news bulletin to claim that Thackeray had called PM Modi thrice in 24 hours, but was told that he will respond after he was back from West Bengal.

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Soon after the claim, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi took to Twitter to say: “We will wait Hon. PM, for your election campaigning and rallies to conclude for an urgent intervention to save lives. But those who need Remdesevir and Oxygen may not have the luxury of time sir. PS: *EPIDEMIC IS AN EMERGENCY& NOT THE ELECTION.*[sic.]”

TMC MP Derek O’Brien also took to Twitter to call it a "shocker".

“#SHOCKER Maharashtra CM @OfficeofUT called Modi requesting for urgent supply of oxygen for his State. Was informed that PM busy campaigning in Bengal[sic.]. Will respond on his return.”

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‘Speaks a Lot of the PM’s Priorities’: Shiv Sena

Chaturvedi, who is also the spokesperson of the Shiv Sena, told The Quint that the government would wait to hear back from the Prime Minister, but the citizens don’t have the luxury of time.

“Whatever is being produced in the state is now being used for medical purposes. We've had Mr Ambani also send 100 metric tonnes of oxygen for Maharashtra's usage. We are also placing orders, but unfortunately, there are some states which are also not allowing interstate transfers because of which we had raised this issue with the Centre,” Chaturvedi said.

“But we continue to get these kinds on nonsensical arguments coming from Mr Piyush Goyal, who is the Railway Minister and who represents Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha and all he does is play politics to get some political brownie points from his masters,” she added.

“For the Chief Minister, to ask the Prime Minister and call him up that we are facing a shortage and for us to know that 'we're sorry, he is campaigning in West Bengal,' what does it say of the priorities?[sic.]” Chaturvedi said.

‘Petty Politics of Inept Govt,’ Says Goyal; Health Minister Assures Supply

Union Minister Piyush Goyal took to Twitter to call the claim Thackeray government’s “gimmicks on oxygen".

“Maharashtra is suffering from an inept & corrupt government & the Centre is doing its best for the people. People of Maharashtra are following ‘Majha Kutumb, Majhi Javabadari’ dutifully. It is time the CM also follows his duties in the spirit of ‘Majha Rajya, Majhi Javabadari’,” Goyal tweeted.

“Just yesterday, PM in his review told that Centre & states should work with synergy in this crisis. With this background, shocked and saddened to see petty politics being played by @OfficeOfUT. He needs to stop his daily dose of shameless politics and take responsibility,” Goyal added.

“Saddened to see @OfficeOfUT’s gimmicks on oxygen. GoI, with all stakeholders, is ensuring maximum oxygen production in India. We are currently producing 110 percent of oxygen-generating capacity and diverting all available oxygen from industrial use to medical use,” he tweeted.

Hours later, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that he had a conversation with Thackeray and had assured of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to the state.

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Maharashtra is facing an acute shortage of oxygen supply amid rising cases of COVID-19. The state on Friday, 16 April, reported over 63,000 new cases of COVID-19, with the medical infrastructure of the state being severely stretched.

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