Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis were seen together at the inauguration of a COVID-19 hospital in Baner area here on Friday.
The two had famously come together on November 23 last year when Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister and Pawar ashis deputy in a hush-hush early morning ceremony.
Pawar, an NCP stalwart, broke ranks to join the BJP leader to form government after the saffron party fell outwith the Shiv Sena, but their government lasted only 80 hours as they could not muster the numbers. On Friday, Pawar and Fadnavis stood side by side and addressed the gathering in Baner, though they painted different pictures of the coronavirus situation in the state.
Pawar, who is also guardian minister for Pune district, said in the last few days 2,200 hospital beds have been added for treatment of coronavirus patients in the city and neighbouring Pimpri Chinchwad. Referring to the phase 3 human trial of the 'Oxford vaccine' which began in Pune earlier this week, he expressed confidence that soon there will be "affirmative picture in thestate and country".
Fadnavis pointed out that every day on average 15,000 new cases are being reported in Maharashtra. "The main concern is that the positivity rate of the infection is still 19 to 19.5 per cent. As per the ICMR, it should be 5 per cent and where there is high infection (rate),it should be 10 per cent," he said.
The BJP leader also said that the state accounts for nearly 40 per cent of coronavirus deaths in the country. "Since our current death rate is still 3.2 percent which is above the national average, it is a matter of concern," Fadnavis said.
State BJP chief and Kothrud MLA Chandrakant Patil and Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol were also present.