R K Roja, former south Indian actor and YSR Congress Party MLA from Nagari assembly constituency in Andhra Pradesh, was Tuesday afternoon seen driving around a newly inducted 108 ambulance, posing for photos and urging people to shoot videos in the constituency in Chittoor district. Roja, who is also the Chairperson of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, was present there to “receive” the ambulances.
Last week, the government inducted 412 new ambulances into the existing fleet and a few of the vehicles were allocated to the Nagari constituency which reached there Tuesday. Andhra Pradesh is reporting a huge surge in Covid-19 positive cases and there is huge demand for ambulances to take suspected Covid patients to hospitals and testing centres. On July 7, the state reported 1178 new positive cases taking the total to 21,197, while 13 deaths were reported taking the total number of deaths to 252.
Instead of dispatching the ambulances to various locations to be ready to attend to emergencies, the vehicles were held up by Roja for several hours as she insisted on having a function to “induct” the ambulances in her constituency. After a small welcoming ceremony, Roja took to the wheel of one of the newly-inducted ambulances and drove around while urging her supporters to click photos and shoot videos. She was also seen answering a call on the ambulance’s emergency radio.
A former Telugu film actress, Roja has been criticised several times both within the party as well as outside for going overboard in public interactions. On April 21, in total violation of the lockdown guidelines, she went to a village in her constituency to “inaugurate” a borewell where she insisted that the villagers shower rose flower petals in front of her as she walked down to switch on the borewell.
The villagers including several women and children, who were instructed by the local Revenue Department officials wore masks and stood on either of the village road and showered rose petals in front of her as she walked by. When contacted at that time, Roja said she did not instruct them to welcome her like that. “I did not even know that they were waiting for me to shower flowers. They threw flowers and rose petals in front of me as I walked but I could not say no as I did not want to hurt their feelings,’’ she said.
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