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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

At Kejriwal’s rally, AAP leaders mock Covid rules, attendees say: ‘More worried about our livelihoods than virus’

While AAP workers were seen distributing customised ‘AAP’ masks and sanitisers at the entrance points of the venue, very few sitting in the pandal were seen wearing them. There was no social distancing as thousands sat close together to listen to Kejriwal’s speech.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
Updated: March 22, 2021 1:56:28 pm
Crowd at the Kisan Mahasamelan of AAP at Baghapurana in Moga, Punjab on Sunday. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

COVID NORMS were brazenly flouted at the ‘Kisan Maha Sammelan’ addressed by AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in Baghapurana of Moga Sunday even as cases continued to rise in the state. Thousands of attendees at the rally sat without wearing masks nor practising social distancing.

Moga health department officials said that even as four teams of health workers were deployed at the venue for rapid antigen testing and RT-PCR sample collection of the people who were coming to attend the rally, not a single test could be conducted due to the ‘chaos’ that prevailed at the venue.

For the past four days, Punjab has been adding more than 2,000 cases daily to its tally. It stands next only to Maharashtra in the terms of highest daily deaths due to Covid.

While AAP workers were seen distributing customised ‘AAP’ masks and sanitisers at the entrance points of the venue, very few sitting in the pandal were seen wearing them. There was no social distancing as thousands sat close together to listen to Kejriwal’s speech.

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Meanwhile, AAP leaders including MP Bhagwant Mann openly mocked the “Corona fear” from the in their speeches and said that coronavirus was no reason to postpone or cancel their rally.

Arvind Kejriwal Kisan Mahasamelan rally Punjab People gathered at Arvind Kejriwal’s rally in Moga, Punjab on Sunday. (Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

The Moga administration had granted AAP permission to hold the rally with ‘conditions’ that the party had to follow in view of Covid. The letter said that keeping in view rising Covid cases in Punjab, the organizers have to ensure:

– Only those VIPs and VVIPs should be allowed to sit on stage who test negative in past 48 hours.
– All the leaders and workers who will participate in the rally have to wear masks and follow social distancing.
– The venue will be sanitized using sodium hypochlorite.
– Sanitisers will be made available at the entry point and near the stage at the venue
– All the guidelines issued by Centre, Punjab for Covid management will be followed.

“What is Covid? Where is it? Has anyone seen it? There is nothing like Covid. It is all hype created by the governments,” said a labourer from Faridkot said while speaking to The Indian Express, adding that Kejriwal was his “favourite” leader and in no way could he have missed his rally.

“Even if there is Covid, it is less dangerous than Akali Dal and Congress. These two parties have to go now. We came here to listen tp what Kejriwal had to say and what hope he can give us for our better future and for Punjab,” said a man from Bajakhana of Faridkot, who said he works as a driver.

Arvind Kejriwal Kisan Mahasamelan rally Punjab Arvind Kejriwal addressing the crowd at the Kisan Mahasamelan rally in Moga on Sunday. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

“There is no Covid. It is okay not to wear masks…We came here to listen to Kejriwal,” said Gurvir Singh, a small farmer from Jalalabad.
Mann Singh, a mason who came from Faridkot, said, “We do not fear Covid. One has to die one day and we will die the day it has to happen. We came to listen to Kejriwal.” Jagvir Singh, a daily wager from Nabha said, “Where is Covid in Bengal where BJP is holding massive rallies daily?”

“Politicians are making fools of people in the name of Covid. Daily wagers and laborers who work hard and earn daily are more worried about their livelihoods than Covid. We came here because we are fed up of both Congress and Akali Dal. Maybe Kejriwal can offer us some hope,” said Jasvir, a driver.

Arvind Kejriwal Kisan Mahasamelan rally Punjab

 

AAP leaders mock Covid from stage

AAP leaders including MP Bhagwant Mann, Barnala MLA Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer and Punjab affairs co-incharge Jarnail Singh, also mocked the coronavirus from stage in their speeches and said that it was no reason to postpone or cancel the rally.

Targeting Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, AAP leaders said that there was no Covid for CM’s granddaughter’s wedding but it becomes a huge worry if Kejriwal has to hold a rally. Recently, videos of Captain Amarinder and his family went viral on social media in which he could be seen attending the wedding of his granddaughter (his son Raninder Singh’s daughter) without wearing mask.

Arvind Kejriwal Kisan Mahasamelan rally Punjab Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and MP Bhagwant Mann with AAP MLAs observe two minutes silence for the who farmers died during Kisan andolan. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

“Captain di poti de vyaah naal covid ni hunda… Saade velley hunda Covid. Saade Covid di chinta na karo.. (Covid doesn’t happen when Captain’s granddaughter gets married, it happens only when we organise something. These people need not worry about us getting Covid),” said AAP MLA Meet Hayer on stage.

“Corona to nahi Kejriwal ton darr lagda hai (Congress does not fear corona but Kejriwal). Congress can do rallies in West Bengal then there is no Corona but it is there when Kejriwal does,” said AAP Punjab affairs co-incharge Jarnail Singh.

MP Bhagwant Mann said from stage that SAD and Congress would be having ‘sleepless nights’ for the coming one year before polls.

“Saanu kehenda corona hai, eh rally na karo. Aap eh Bengal vi election lad rahe, Bengal vi lad rahe. Captain Amarinder ne apni poti da vyah kita, dus function kar le oh do taan corona aaunda ni, saadi vaari corona aa gaya… Ehna ne hathkandey vartey.. (They asked us not to hold today’s rally citing Covid. But they themselves are fighting Bengal and Tamil Nadu polls also. Captain Amarinder organized ten functions for his granddaughter’s wedding and then there was no Covid but it appears when we do anything. They tried everything to stop this rally),” said Mann.

Police say

Moga SSP Harmanbir Singh Gill said police can take action against those who violated Covid norms if they get a written request from administration. “Since they granted permission for the rally, it was their duty to check the violations. We will register case against those who did not wear masks etc if administration gives the same to us in writing,” said SSP.

As per the latest Covid guidelines that were issued by Punjab additional chief secretary (home) on March 20 and enforced from March 21: “All political parties and their leaders are requested to keep their gathering within the prescribed numbers i.e. 50 per cent of capacity subject to maximum of 100 in closed and 200 in open spaces.”

Rally sidelights

AAP Jaitu MLA Master Baldev, during his speech, asked the crowds to clap for ‘Sukbir Singh Badal testing positive for Covid’. “Vadiya hoya Sukhbir Covid positive aaya, taadi maaro,’ he said from the stage.

Celebrity singer turned AAP leader Anmol Gagan Mann, while conducting the stage, said media was ‘third’ pillar of democracy.

Before the arrival of AAP leadership, crowds were entertained with the songs such as, ‘Khichh lai jatta khichh taiyyari, pecha pai gaya Centre naal’ and ‘Nai aauni, nai aauni, hun teri sarkaar Captaina nahi aauni..’

While earlier AAP leaders such as Bhagwant Mann, Meet Hayer, Jarnail Singh, Kultar Sandhwan, Harpal Singh Cheema etc were seeing sitting on stage without wearing masks, all of them wore the masks later as Arvind Kejriwal arrived.
-Even as it was a rally for farmers, the pandal was dominated by blue-white AAP flags with Kejriwal’s photos. Hardly any farm union flag was visible.

The main stage had photos of only three AAP leaders- Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann & Harpal Cheema.

While earlier AAP leaders such as Bhagwant Mann, Meet Hayer, Jarnail Singh, Kultar Sandhwan, Harpal Singh Cheema etc were seeing sitting on stage without wearing masks, all of them wore the masks later as Arvind Kejriwal arrived.
-Even as it was a rally for farmers, the pandal was dominated by blue-white AAP flags with Kejriwal’s photos. Hardly any farm union flag was visible.

The main stage had photos of only three AAP leaders- Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann & Harpal Cheema.

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