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Coronavirus cases: Shiv Sena targets BJP over crowded rallies in poll-bound states

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Mumbai, Mar 10: The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said central government leaders were addressing crowded rallies in poll-bound states, while opening suburban trains for the general public in Mumbai was being blamed for the rise in COVID-19 cases in the metropolis.

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An editorial in the Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' asked people to take care, saying otherwise a "lockdown is imminent". It said a partial lockdown has been enforced in some parts of Maharashtra, and many areas of cities like Thane and Nashik have been COVID-19 hot-spots.

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"Has the coronavirus been crushed under the huge crowds seen during campaigning for the West Bengal elections?" the Marathi daily sought to know. It said people were not wearing face masks and not following physical distancing norms in poll rallies, but the crowd in Mumbai locals trains, where people travel to work for their livelihood, was being blamed for the spike in COVID-19 cases.

"The prime minister addressespublic meetings attended by thousands of people and Union home minister conducts roadshows. This freedom is not applicable to the common man. They have to protect themselves and their families," it said.

It is good that the Centre is concerned about the rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, but what is it doing to help the state? the Sena asked. "Due to the pandemic, the state has suffered revenue loss of more than Rs one lakh crore, per capita income has reduced, there is employment crisis," the Marathi daily said.

Quoting the Union health ministry, the Sena said Maharashtra accounts for 56 per cent of the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. "Maharashtra doesn't hide the COVID-19 numbers," it added. The Sena also said poll-bound Tamil Nadu and Kerala are among the states where there has been a rise in COVID-19 numbers.

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"The Union health ministry says there is no rise in COVID-19 cases in West Bengal. May be, this has been said to ensure the rallies of prime minister and BJP leaders go on smoothly in the state," the editorial claimed.

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    Politics is being played in such a "cruel and inhuman manner," it alleged. "If the rise in cases in Mumbai is because of local trains, there is Metro in Delhi," the editorial said.

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