As the nation fights the Coronavirus pandemic, a BJP MLA from Wardha district in Maharashtra on Sunday allegedly violated the lockdown norms and endangered many by distributing dry ration to people at his residence to mark his birthday. The photos and the videos of the immediately went viral on the internet with people criticizing the MLA for violating the guidelines.
Confirming the incident, Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Harish Dharmik said the MLA, Dadarao Keche, will face action under the Epidemic Diseases Act. He said the MLA did not take any permission from administration in view of the ongoing lockdown to check the spread of novel coronavirus.
At least one hundred people gathered outside the MLA's residence to receive free grains before officials and police personnel reached the spot and dispersed them. The MLA has contested his role in the incident and said it was a "political conspiracy" against him by his opponents.
However, Keche is not the first political leader to violate the guidelines and promote social gathering. On Sunday BJP's only MLA in Telangana T Raja Singh lit a flaming torch in Hyderabad following the call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to switch off lights of houses at 9 PM for 9 minutes to mark the fight against the Coronavirus and also chanted slogans of 'Chinese virus go back' along with his supporters. Singh and his followers were seen standing with torches, visibly defying all social distancing norms amid the lockdown.
On Sunday morning, Haryana Police also initiated an inquiry against senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala after he allegedly violated lockdown guidelines and participated in a sanitisation drive on Saturday, sources said. Surjewala took to Twitter to post his pictures driving a tractor accompanied by his followers.
The number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra rose to 781 with 33 people more people testing positive for the disease on Monday, a health official said. Among the new cases, 19 were reported from Pune city, 11 from Mumbai and one each from Satara, Ahmednagar and Vasai (in Palghar district), said the official.
"The state health department on Monday received reports of 33 people testing positive for coronavirus. With this, the state tally increased to 781, he said. The state has so far reported 45 deaths due to the viral disease.
According to the Health Ministry, there has been an increase of 490 coronavirus cases in the last 12 hours, taking India's total number of positive cases past 4000-mark. There are 4067 total cases in India, including 3666 active cases, 292 cured/discharged/migrated people. 109 people have died, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
(with PTI inputs)