Defending the efforts of Maharashtra government in the Parliament, the Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that the fight against coronavirus was not a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people.

“The state government had managed to control the spread of the pandemic in slum clusters like Dharavi, an effort which had drawn appreciation from the World Health Organisation (WHO),” he said.

Taking a jibe at the BJP leader and Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal who had in July said that a papad brand named “Bhabhi ji ke papad” would be helpful to cure the virus; he said these recoveries didn’t happen by eating “Bhabhi ji ke papad”.

However, was himself later tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I want to ask the members how did so many people recover? Kya log bhabhi ji ke papad kha karke theek ho gaye? (Did they recover by eating Bhabhiji’s papad?” Sanjay Raut said.

“This isn’t a political fight but a fight to save the lives of people,” he added.

“My mother and my brother are infected with COVID. Many people in Maharashtra are recovering also. Today, the situation in Dharavi is under control. WHO has appreciated efforts of BMC. I want to state these facts as some members here were criticising Maharashtra government yesterday,” he said.

Meghwal has been at the forefront in criticising the Maharashtra government over its handling the coronavirus crisis.

Opposition leader, Devendra Fadnavis, alleged that the Uddhav Thackeray government was trying to slow the number of testing to show that the pandemic has been controlled in the state.

In terms of the coronavirus cases in India, Maharashtra accounts for nearly a quarter of the daily new cases.

India has recorded a fresh spike of 97,894  coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally of Covid-19 cases past the 51 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health.

India, which remain the second worst affected nation, has a  total of 51,18,253 Covid-19 cases. For the first time, India’s active cases have crossed the 10 lakh mark and the active Covid-19 cases in the country is 10,09,976. The number of fatalities due to the pandemic is 83,198, with 1,132 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.