August 27, 2020 1:21:30 am
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi that 23 Punjab MLAs, including Cabinet ministers, have tested positive for coronavirus. Of the 23, at least three are Cabinet ministers.
“As of today, two days before the scheduled Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, 23 ministers/MLAs are Covid positive. If this is the state of the legislators and ministers, one can only imagine how grave the situation on the ground is,” Amarinder told Sonia during a virtual meeting she had called with Chief Ministers of opposition-ruled states to discuss a range of issues faced by them.
Those infected include 13 Congress MLAs, six from the Shiromani Akali Dal and three from the Aam Aadmi Party, officials said.
Prominent among the ruling party MLAs are Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sunder Sham Arora (all ministers), Hardial Kamboj, Pargat Singh, Madan Lal Jalalpur and Ajaib Singh Bhatti.
The Akali legislators who have contracted the infection include Manpreet Singh Ayali, N K Sharma, Rozy Barkandi, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra.
Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori and Principal Budh Ram of the AAP also contracted the infection, they said. Besides, one AAP legislator Nazar Singh Manshahia, who had joined the Congress last year, also tested positive.
Last month, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa tested positive for Covid-19 but has now recovered.
Meanwhile, senior AAP leader Aman Arora raised questions over the test report of party MLA Manjit Singh Bilaspur. He claimed that Bilaspur told him that the health authorities first informed him that he has tested negative but later declared him Covid positive.
Arora said Bilaspur was part of the AAP MLAs’ meeting held Tuesday to discuss the party’s strategy for the upcoming monsoon session. He asked whether Bilaspur was declared positive under a “conspiracy” by the government in order to ensure other members in the meeting go into mandatory one-week isolation.
Arora said he has asked Bilaspur to get himself tested from a private lab for a re-check. He said he given the same suggestion to Akali legislator Gurpartap Singh Wadala.
The 117-member Punjab Assembly will convene for day-long monsoon session on August 28. Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana
K P Singh has made coronavirus negative test report mandatory for legislators and officials to attend the session. —WITH PTI INPUTS
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