Politicos flout ban on gatherings with impunity ahead of Baroda bypoll
Despite the Sonepat district administration’s ban on political gatherings in view of the Covid-19 outbreak, politicians continue to defy the orders and campaign in villages ahead of the Baroda constituency bypolls.
Indian National Lok Dal general secretary and Ellenabad MLA Abhay Singh Chautala seems to be on the forefront in violating the administration orders as he had held meetings in nearly 10 villages of the constituency from Monday evening to Tuesday. Images and videos that have emerged from the spot show blatant violation of social distancing and other safety norms.
Wrestler-turned Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yogeshwar Dutt too has been violating the Sonepat administration’s orders by conducting village-level meetings.
Sonepat deputy commissioner Shyam Lal Punia had announced the ban on political gatherings on Monday, a day after Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Deepinder Hooda was found infected after addressing poll rallies in various parts of the constituency.
Apart from Deepender, Karnal MP Sanjay Bhatia, agricultural minister JP Dalal, power and jails minister Ranjit Chautala, Gohana MLA Jagbir Malik and a few others politicians had also addressed village-level gatherings before testing positive for the virus.
Locals fear infection
Anil Kumar, a resident of Kathura village in Baroda, said the administration has failed to take any action against the politicians who are putting people’s lives at risk by holding gatherings amid the pandemic outbreak.
“So far, six leaders, who had addressed gatherings in this constituency, have tested positive. The Covid-19 is in community spread in our constituency and the leaders have turned infection spreaders. Moreover, the health department has also not increased testing here. These politicians are posing a great risk to our lives,” he added.
Joginder Moor, an independent aspirant for Baroda bypoll, said the election commission is yet to announce the poll date but politicians are going ahead with the canvassing. “I am surprised why the district administration has not initiated any action against these leaders though they are issuing challans to commoners for going out in public without masks,” he added.
Gohana sub-divisional magistrate Ashish Kumar, who was appointed the nodal officer to implement a ban, said he is in home quarantine after his driver tested positive for the virus. “I will check where the political gatherings were being organised,” he added.
INLD leader Abhay Chautala could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.