February 21, 2021 10:10:15 pm
HOURS AFTER he was discharged from Ahmedabad’s UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre where he was undergoing treatment for Covid-19, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani flew to his hometown Rajkot and cast his vote at a polling booth near his home on Sunday, wearing a mask and a face shield.
Election officers said that a voter with the viral infection was required to wear a PPE suit inside the polling booth but added that CM had tested negative for Covid-19 in the morning.
Rupani arrived in Rajkot around 5 pm and cast his vote at Anil Gyan Mandir on Raiya Road in Ward No.10 of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC). Rupani’s wife Anjali Rupani was already present at the polling station.
The polling staff at Anil Gyan Mandir put on PPE suit before Rupani’s arrival. Anilkumar Chaudhary, returning officer for Ward No.10, said the CM had already tested negative on Sunday morning and therefore was not required to wear a PPE kit.
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“We received his RT-PCR test report in the morning, in which he tested negative for Covid-19… it was communicated to the presiding officer and the zonal officer. As a precautionary measure, we asked the polling staff to put on PPE kits and directed a team of health department to be present at the booth. Masks and sanitisers were also arranged,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.
Anjali Rupani accompanied the CM inside the polling booth where the couple cast their vote.
Rupani (62) was admitted to the hospital on February 14 after he fainted on stage during a campaign for the local body elections in Vadodara. He tested positive for Covid-19 the next day. The hospital has since maintained that the Chief Minister had mild symptoms with other health indicators reflecting normal levels.
GSEC guidelines permitted those having contracted Covid-19 to vote between 5 pm and 6 pm. Chaudhary said that CM was the lone Covid-19 positive voter in Ward No.10 who cast his vote.
After casting his vote, the CM walked around 200 metres to reach Raiya Road and waved to people. Addressing the media, Rupani thanked people and urged them to come out and vote.
“I thank people of Gujarat who prayed for my speedy recovery. My report came negative today and after consulting doctors, I have come here straight from hospital. I made this trip to demonstrate that voting is a pious duty that everyone should perform,” said Rupani.
The CM also exuded confidence that the BJP would retain the municipal corporations of Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar for which polling was conducted on Sunday.
“Development is the only poll issue in Gujarat and I am confident people will vote for the party that stands for development,” Rupani said while urging people to come out and vote in large number.
Rupani also said that Gujarat is known for peaceful elections and underlined that polling had remained peaceful on Sunday also.
Rupani was to campaign for BJP candidates in Rajkot on February 17 but his visit was cancelled due to his ill health.
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