Pune, Jun 11 (PTI) The plans of the Maha Vikas Aghadi to create "all round development" for the people of Maharashtra were thwarted over the last several months by the COVID-19 pandemic, state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said on Friday.

Interacting with citizens in a Facebook live session, Pawar also said his government wanted to the Centre to take the Parliament route to ensure the Maratha community in the state gets quota in jobs and education without it affecting similar benefits of other communities.

"The NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress formed Maha Vikas Aghadi government under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to address the issues of people, create all-around development as well as an atmosphere that would make every section of society believe this government belongs to it. However, immediately after taking over, the COVID-19 crisis stood in front of us," Pawar said.

The last 14 months have gone in tackling the outbreak, which had led to job losses and a severe financial crunch while implementing some decisions, he said.

Pawar said the state government, however, has taken all efforts to improve the health care system, including ramping up medicine stocks, increasing ventilator beds, and ensuring Maharashtra got the maximum number of vaccine doses.

"Since the production has been ramped up by vaccine companies, our aim is to cover a majority of people in Maharashtra by the end of August," Pawar asserted.

Queried on the Maratha quota issue, with the Supreme Court on May 5 striking down a law that provided reservations to the community in the state, Pawar said renowned lawyers were appointed to defend the state's stand in the apex court.

"A delegation under the CM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, and we requested (the Centre) to take a decision in Parliament to give reservations to Maratha community without touching the quota of other communities," the NCP leader said.

He lashed out at the opposition for trying to "incite the community" for political gains, adding that the MVA government was committed to giving quota to the Maratha community without touching benefits of other groups.

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