Quarantined CMs to dead MLAs: India’s politicians battle Covid-19

New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) When it comes to Covid-19, everyone is in danger, including India’s political class with Karnataka Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi becoming the latest politician to test positive for the dreaded virus.

From quarantined Chief Ministers to Covid positive state ministers, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on India’s politicians.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren recently went into self-isolation after his cabinet colleague Mithilesh Thakur and JMM MLA Mathura Mahato tested positive. The Chief Minister tweeted, “Both are being treated at a government hospital. As a precaution, I will also be in self-isolation for the next few days from today. But I will continue to perform every important work.”

Fortunately, both he and his wife later tested negative. Soren is just the latest in a long line of India’s powerful and influential politicians who are facing the brunt of the Corona wrath.

His Bihar counterpart — Nitish Kumar — too came in close contact with a Covid positive patient recently. He attended an event where he sat next to a party leader who was later found to be infected with coronavirus. Kumar’s niece, who was staying at his official residence at 1, Anney Marg, too tested positive, sparking a health scare. Following that the property was sanitised.

Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went into home quarantine after Health Minister Satyender Jain was detected with the deadly virus and had to be admitted to the Max hospital in the national capital. The Delhi Chief Minister, however, tested negative.

In June, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat was placed under quarantine after state Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj had attended a Cabinet meeting before testing positive.

And it’s not just the Chief Ministers who have faced the scare of the pandemic up-close, it has resonated in the Raj Bhawans as well. One such Raj Bhawan is in Telangana, where as many as 48 people had tested positive.

Among the 48, 28 were security personnel, while 10 were from different departments in the Governor’s office. However, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan tested negative.

There are a slew of ministers too who could not escape the wrath of the dreaded virus which has infected a whopping 878,254 people across the country so far. Apart from Delhi Health Minister Jain, who had to be admitted to the ICU, a senior minister in the Telangana government had also reportedly tested positive in late June.

Three key ministers in the Maharashtra government — former CM Ashok Chavan, Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde and Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad — had also tested positive before recovering.

In Uttarakhand, apart from CM Rawat, three ministers — Harak Singh Rawat, Madan Kaushik and Subodh Uniyal — too were placed under quarantine as they also came in contact with Covid positive minister Maharaj.

After testing positive on Sunday, Karnataka Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi tweeted: “Within a span of one week, one test has come out negative and one has come out positive. Hence, I have given samples for a third test today. Awaiting the third umpire’s decision.”

Recently, Uttar Pradesh’s Minister of State (independent charge) for Sports and Youth Welfare, Upendra Tiwari, had tested positive for Covid-19.

Even party MPs and spokespersons have found it hard to stay untouched by the pandemic with BJP MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, its spokesperson Sambit Patra and AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena — all bearing its brunt.

While most recovered, some were not so lucky. Former BJP MP Haribhau Jawale died battling the virus as did Trinamool Congress MLA Tamonash Ghosh.

As India opens up and activities increase, the politicians too are facing the ugly reality of the deadly pandemic, just like any other citizen.

–IANS
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