Gujarat Congress leader Bharatsinh Solanki has tested positive for Covid19, two days after participating in the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha polls in the state as a candidate of the party. Solanki, who began showing symptoms on Saturday, got himself tested on Sunday after he developed high grade fever, officials of the Anand district administration said. Solanki is currently admitted to a private hospital in Vadodara and is said to be stable.
Solanki’s assistant told this newspaper that he developed fever on Saturday and began feeling uneasy on Sunday. His sample for Covid19 test was collected in Vadodara and the report turned out positive. Solanki was admitted to Banker’s Hospital in Manjalpur which is an empanelled Covid19 hospital in Vadodara. His assistant and driver, who were with him during the entire week preceding the Rajya Sabha polls, have been quarantined. Officials of Anand district administration have also asked Solanki’s close family members to remain alert although Solanki’s assistant said that the leader did not his family in the last week due to the Rajya Sabha polls.
Solanki had also met several MLAs of the party in Gujarat in the run up to the Rajya Sabha polls, especially those of Central Gujarat assembly constituencies, who had been put up at a farmhouse in Umeta in Anklav taluka in Anand district. The party unit in the state has sounded an alert for all its leaders who came in contact with Solanki during or ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls to report any symptoms.
Manish Doshi, Chief Spokesperson of the party in Gujarat, said, “It is a concern that he (Solanki) has tested positive. At the Rajya Sabha polls, he underwent screening before being allowed to enter the polling arena. So it is obvious that he was asymptomatic at that time. But the number of people who surrounded him during the process, from other leaders to journalists, was huge. We don’t know how he could have contracted the virus.” Doshi said that Solanki had stayed with a batch of MLAs who were put up in Umeta.
After the Rajya Sabha polling finished on Friday, both the Congress candidates –Shaktisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki –came out of the main gate, where they were mobbed by the mediapersons for a reaction on the events that unfolded during the day. Gohil released a video message in Gujarati saying that he has quarantined himself as per the government protocol in New Delhi, where he had arrived en route Bihar for election related work. Gohil, who won the fourth RS seat from Gujarat, said in the video, “The news of Bharatsinh Solanki testing positive for Coronavirus is concerning. Our best wishes are with him. He spoke to me and is doing well as he undergoes treatment. He will be back with us soon to lead us as he always has. Meanwhile, since I have been in close contact with Bharatbhai, as per the protocol of the state and central government, I have isolated myself in New Delhi where I had arrived on my way to Bihar for work. I have no symptoms of Covid19 and am doing well.”
“Many of our elected representatives came in contact with him at Umeta as well as in Ahmedabad. The MLAs are intelligent and those who have been in close contact with him will isolate themselves but the party will also check up on their health,” Doshi said, adding that Solanki is stable.
Meanwhile, Solanki’s name is yet to figure on the list of positive cases in Anand district. “Since he was away from Anand for over ten days due to his political commitments, he didn’t have direct contact with his family here. We have not yet received intimation about his report officially. His driver and Assistant who were with him have been asked to isolate immediately,” District Health Officer MK Chari said.
Dr Dinkar Raval, the deputy director (epidemic) at Commissionerate of Health, and the nodal officer (health) monitoring the Standard Operating Procedures related to Covid-19 on the day of Rajya Sabha polls said Congress candidate Bharatsinh Solanki temperature measured at the main gate of the state legislative Assembly which housed the polling centre was “normal.” According to Raval, Solanki was thermally scanned at 8.40 am and detected ‘Normal’ as indicated by scanner ( Green reflection). He had also sanitized hands at Health Help Desk.
“We have all the records of people who temperatures readings were taken on the polling day. His temperature was normal. Whenever a person stood in front of the thermal scanner, his photo appears on the screen, his temperature reading also appears and a voice from the scanner also announces if the temperature is normal or not,” said Raval.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines