Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday met opposition leaders through video conference to discuss the coronavirus situation in the state.
While some of the leaders gathered at Mantralaya (state secretariat) here, others, including Uddhav Thackeray himself, took part in the meeting through video conference, an official in the Chief Minister's Office said.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and PWD Minister Ashok Chavan were present at the meeting from the government's side.
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From the opposition's side, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, VBA leader Prakash Ambedkar, PRP leader Jogendra Kawade, JSS leader Vinay Kore, PWP's Jayant Patil, RSP's Mahadeo Jankar, AIMIM leader Imtiaz Jaleel, Kapil Patil, Ashok Dhavle and Rajendra Gawai participated, among others.
Raj Thackeray told reporters afterwards that he suggested deployment of the State Reserve Police Force to assist the police in the enforcement of lockdown.
"More force is needed where people are taking the administration for granted. In containment zones, police force should be increased. Muslims should be asked to celebrate Ramzan indoors," he said.
"E-learning is not always possible, not just in rural areas but also in cities. The government needs to tell people how it will ensure that academic year is completed," he said.
He also demanded that the government should explain its lockdown exit plan well in advance.
The MNS chief also said if migrant labourers do not return, jobs should be given to the local youth. Those who want to return to the state after lockdown is lifted should be allowed to come back only after testing for coronavirus, he said. Private clinics in the state must reopen, he said.
When asked if lockdown should be extended further, the MNS chief said Ramzan Eid falls on May 25. "If the lockdown ended on May 17 and people came out on streets later, what happens if the pandemic continues to increase? The government should think of all the issues," he said.
When asked why he was not wearing the mandatory face mask as he attended the meeting at Mantralaya, Raj Thackeray laughed, saying he didn't wear a mask as everyone else was wearing one.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.