Four months after he took charge as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh following the collapse of the Congress government just before the nationwide lockdown was imposed, Shivraj Singh Chouhan was admitted to a dedicated Covid hospital in Bhopal Saturday after testing positive.
Chouhan, who is 61 and a diabetic, later tweeted that he had undergone all tests and was healthy. He also posted that he had been reviewing the Covid situation in the state every evening since March 25 and would try to continue via video-conferencing. Officials said the Chief Minister’s family members will be tested.
Three days ago, Minister Arvind Bhadoriya, who had attended a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chouhan, had tested positive. The previous day, Bhadoriya had travelled with the Chief Minister to Lucknow to attend the funeral of late Governor Lalji Tandon.
Chouhan’s announcement came after a new 10-day lockdown was imposed in Bhopal from 8 am Friday to contain the outbreak. And while wishing him a speedy recovery, Opposition Congress leaders accused him and the BJP government of not taking the pandemic seriously earlier.
“I was saddened to know that you have contracted the coronavirus infection. I pray to god for your early recovery. The only regret is that when we were serious about COVID 19, you called it ‘drama’, ridiculed it as ‘darona’ and dubbed it a weapon to protect the government,’’ said a tweet posted in Hindi by the office of former CM Kamal Nath.
Nath was referring to the period of political uncertainty in the run-up to the fall of his government on March 20. On March 16, the then Assembly speaker N P Prajapati had adjourned the House by 10 days citing the pandemic. The BJP, then in the Opposition, had criticised the move as an attempt to avoid the floor test ordered by the Governor.
On March 20, the state reported its first Covid case. On the same day, Nath submitted his resignation after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test.
“Had you not made fun of it, taken due precautions, followed all guidelines you would have probably not got the infection,’’ the tweet by Nath’s office said.
Former CM and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh also wished Chouhan a speedy recovery in a tweet in Hindi. In the tweet, he also wrote: “You should have maintained social distancing but you didn’t. The police had registered an FIR against me (for violating Covid guidelines) but how could they have done that against you. You take care of yourself.’’
Earlier, before leaving his official residence for the hospital, Chouhan had tweeted: “Corona patients should not insist on getting quarantined at home or not going to hospital. We should follow doctors’ advice.”
He had also assigned the work of reviewing the Covid situation to Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Urban Development Minister Bhupendra Singh, Health Minister Prabhuram Chaudhary and Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang.
Chouhan also said that he gave his samples for testing after developing symptoms, and asked people who had come in contact with him to get tested and those close to him to go in quarantine. Other ministers who attended the Cabinet meeting last week, and BJP leaders like state president V D Sharma, have given their samples for testing. Sharma has tested negative.
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