Virus scare in political circles of Himachal after power minister tests positive for Covid-19
Former chief ministers Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal in self quarantine; state BJP chief in home quarantine; governor cancels all his engagements.Updated: Aug 07, 2020 18:10 IST
Amid rise in Covid-19 infections and state power minister Sukhram Chaudhary testing positive for the virus, most political leaders in Himachal Pradesh have gone into self quarantine as a precautionary measure.
Sukhram Chaudhary, his two daughters and a personal security officer had tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. Chaudhary shared the news on social media and urged people who came in his direct contact to quarantine themselves and get tested. The Shimla district authorities have sealed his government residence and started contact tracing.
Former chief ministers and BJP leaders Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar along with their family and staff self quarantined themselves, a day after newly-elected state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Suresh Kashyap had met them on his way to Dharamshala. On Friday, Kashyap went into home quarantine since he had recently visited Nahan along with the power minister.
“By the grace of God my Covid-19 report is negative. Still, I have decided to remain in home quarantine. I apologise if I have caused inconvenience to anyone,” Kashyap wrote in a Facebook post. His staff has also been quarantined.
Kashyap had reached Dharamshala on Thursday and was scheduled to preside over a meeting of Dehra block unit of the BJP on Friday. He had met senior party leaders including Prem Kumar Dhumal, Shanta Kumar and former state party chief Satpal Singh Satti on his way to Dharamshala.
The Raj Bhawan has also cancelled all engagements and appointments of governor Bandaru Dattatreya.
The decision was taken as a precautionary measure. Sukhram Chaudhary had taken oath as the cabinet minister on July 30. The oath was administrated by the governor and as many as 50 guests, including chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, other cabinet ministers and government officials were present at the ceremony .
Chaudhary had later addressed a press conference along with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and two newly appointed ministers and also attended the cabinet meeting. The next day, he toured Nahan and was accompanied by state BJP chief Kashyap and food and civil supplies corporation vice-chairman Baldev Tomar.
Former party chief and Nahan MLA Rajeev Bindal, marketing board chairman Baldev Bhandari and Pachhad MLA Reena Kashyap also attended the programmes organised by BJP workers to welcome Chaudhary.
Sirmaur district BJP president Vinay Gupta accompanied the minister to Paonta Sahib, his home constituency, on August 1. Gupta and Bhandari have quarantined themselves.
Chaudhary’s contact list may be long as several programmes were organised to felicitate him in Solan and Sirmaur after his swearing-in ceremony.
He is undergoing treatment at Deendayal Upadhyay Hospital, Shimla, while his daughters have been shifted to the Covid-care centre at Mashobra.
SHANTA TELLS CM TO CURB HIS VISITS
Meanwhile, veteran BJP leader Shanta kumar has suggested the CM to curb his visits and follow the Covid-19 norms strictly.
“I urge all political leaders to take extra precaution and follow the norms to prevent the spread of infection,” Shanta said in a statement issued here informing that he was self quarantining for 14 days.
He expressed anger on political leaders breaking the rules and taking out procession in the pandemic town. “It is the political leaders who are flouting the rules even as the corona cases continue to mount,” he said.