The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents are working together in the battle against COVID-19 in Maharashtra and the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are fully supportive of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's leadership, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar has said.
In an interview to a TV channel, Pawar said that the government formed by the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress -- in November last year -- will absolutely complete its five-year run.
He exuded confidence that a similar political situation will prevail in the state if the three parties contest the next assembly election together.
The veteran leader rejected suggestions that he is remote-controlling the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, in which his party is the second largest constituent.
The former Union minister also said that the COVID-19 situation in parts of the state, including Mumbai, was difficult earlier, but has now substantially improved.
"Firstly, about this coronavirus situation, this government of three political parties is working together. There is not an iota of difference (among them). All these parties are working under the leadership of Mr Uddhav Thackeray," Pawar told the channel.
The Congress and the NCP are fully supporting Mr Uddhav Thackeray's leadership and whatever the actions he has taken, there is a perfect understanding, he added.
Dismissing claims that he is remote-controlling the MVA regime, Pawar said it is fully controlled by Thackeray and the latter's team.
The NCP chief said the three parties are working together as one unit and added he was not part of the decision-making process.
"But I do handle other activities, when suppose there is a crisis, there is a cyclone. I like to visit and give confidence to the people," he added.
Pawar dismissed the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's claims that the MVA government will not complete its five-year run.
"Absolutely this government will last for five years. If they (the three parties) contest the (next assembly) election jointly, a similar (political) situation will prevail after five years too," he added.
On the COVID-19 situation in the state, Pawar said the situation is definitely improving day by day.
He said the situation was difficult in some parts of Mumbai like Dharavi and other slums earlier, but things have improved substantially in the financial capital, too.
"(In) all these slums, where we have reduced the number of patients, I think the picture has definitely changed. It has improved in Bombay (Mumbai)...day by day, the situation in the entire state is definitely improving," he added.
Asked whether there were any differences of opinion between him and Thackeray on easing lockdown with him wanting the unlocking to happen faster, while the chief minister was being more cautious, Pawar said, "Yeah, it is partly true, but not fully correct."
"I was also not supporting the idea to open up the entire Mumbai, Pune and Thane belt (which accounts for most of COVID-19 cases) immediately," he said.
"But I was definitely suggesting to reopen slowly the rest of the state and chief minister Mr Thackeray and his team have taken a similar road," the veteran politician added.
Pawar said many districts other than Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Solapur are opening up, communication has been re- established there, transportation is improving, shops have opened, trade has resumed and agricultural activities are going on in full swing.
The situation is changing very fast, he added.