Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday sidestepped questions related to controversy over allegations made by his cabinet colleague Nawab Malik against Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai zonal director Sameer Wankhede. On COVID-19, he said the pace of vaccination has slowed down and added that a third wave of the pandemic will depend on new variants of coronavirus.
Asked about Malik’s allegations against former CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis over alleged links with drug peddlers, Thackeray remarked, “There are mutations in the allegations. Let’s see what happens.”
Earlier in the day, Malik tweeted a photograph of an alleged narcotics dealer with Fadnavis’ wife Amruta. Fadnavis said Malik’s tweet reflected his mentality and claimed he will burst a bomb after Diwali by making revelations about the NCP minister’s underworld links.
In an informal interaction with media persons ahead of Diwali, Thackeray refused to comment on political issues and questions related to Malik’s allegations against Wankhede.
The IRS officer is in the eye of a political storm after Malik accused him of forging documents to get a government job, lying about his religion and arresting people in “bogus” drugs cases. Wankhede has denied all allegations.
Speaking on the coronavirus situation in the state, he said, “The pace of vaccination has slowed down. More awareness is necessary to expedite the vaccination drive. A third wave is still unpredictable. All depends on new variants and mutations.” He said COVID-19 protocols must be followed though almost all restrictions related to coronavirus have been lifted.
Thackeray, whose three-party coalition government will complete two years in office this month-end, said he has not changed as a person after becoming CM.The chief minister lashed out at his critics for commenting that he has not been visiting Mantralaya (state secretariat) and working from there.
“I want to know what great work has been done by those who used to sit in Mantralaya,” he said, without naming the BJP, the main opposition party in the state and his former ally.Asked about marriage plans for his son and cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray (31), the CM quipped, “First, I would have to know his mann ki baat.” The CM lamented his priorities as chief minister in coronavirus times have not allowed him to pursue his passion of photography.
“I have not done anything (related to photography) except keeping my camera’s battery charged. If things would have gone as decided, I would have invited you to my photo exhibition,” said the Shiv Sena leader, a photography enthusiast.
After the 2019 assembly polls, the BJP and the Shiv Sena ended their partnership over differences on sharing power and the latter joined hands with the NCP and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.