The Shiv Sena on Tuesday obliquely attacked the Narendra Modi-led central government over the coronavirus situation in the state, saying it is unfortunate that a country that aspires to be an economic superpower reports over 25,000 cases a day. The party made the remark in its mouthpiece Saamana.

The Shiv Sena added that contrary to Prime Minister Modi’s claim before imposing a lockdown in March, the battle against the coronavirus had not ended in 21 days, but was continuing for over 100 days. It ridiculed Modi’s comparison of the battle against the contagion to the Mahabharata war, which had lasted just 18 days.

“We left Russia behind in terms of the number of cases,” the editorial said. “We will attain the number one slot in this unfortunate area if the number of cases continue to go up.” The party said India cannot avoid fighting against the “Chinese” virus, even if it has decided to distance itself from the neighbouring country.

India’s coronavirus tally rose to 7,19,665 on Tuesday morning, with 22,252 new cases in 24 hours, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The toll went up by 467 to 20,160. More than 4.39 lakh people have recovered. The country has not recorded 25,000 cases yet as the Shiv Sena claims.

The Shiv Sena added that while the overall situation in Maharashtra is grim, there have been a lot of recoveries. However, some parts, such as Thane, Kalyan, Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Ambernath and Badlapur have become hotspots, it said.

The party said the coronavirus had spared no one, with police officers, politicians, other administrators and health workers all getting infected. It further claimed no vaccine is likely to be manufactured before 2021. “The coronavirus will be there and we need to live with it,” the Shiv Sena said. “The vaccine for coronavirus will not be available before 2021...that means we will have to live with it at least till then.”

The Shiv Sena said people have been asking how long the lockdown will continue, however, it was not clear if this was a query made to the Centre or to the Maharashtra government itself. However, the party added that when restrictions are lifted, the contagion spreads once more. “When you open the door, the messengers of coronavirus are right there,” the editorial said.

The party mouthpiece said that even though the economy and business have been badly hit by the pandemic, there is no choice but to combat it.

The Shiv Sena is in an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray is the chief minister, while the Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar is his deputy. The health portfolio is with Nationalist Congress Party leader Rajesh Tope.

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