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Monday, March 08, 2021

Day after he fainted at poll event, Rupani tests positive for Covid-19

On Sunday, Rupani, who was campaigning for the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) elections, fell unconscious at the third venue of his rally, while addressing the gathering.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: February 16, 2021 5:02:10 am
Vijay Rupani, Gujarat CM, Republic Day programme, Dahod news, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat news, Indian express newsGujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani tested positive for coronavirus Monday, a day after he collapsed on stage while addressing an election rally in Vadodara and was airlifted to Ahmedabad for treatment.

A health bulletin, issued by UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre (UNMICR), where Rupani is undergoing treatment for the
viral infection, stated the CM had mild symptoms and was stable. The RT-PCR test report was received Monday morning, it added.

In a tweet on Monday evening, Rupani said, “My corona(virus) report has returned positive. Health is fine and quick treatment is underway. I appeal to all those who came in contact with me in the last few days to voluntarily undergo Covid test as part of precaution.”

The health bulletin, issued by UNMICR director Dr RK Patel, stated, “His (Rupani’s) symptoms are mild.

The HRCT Thorax (chest scan), IL-6 (indicator for inflammation), D-dimer (indicator for blood clotting) and oxygen saturation are normal and his condition is stable.” It added that a series of tests, including ECG, 2-D Echo, and blood tests, were conducted and all of it reflected normal levels.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, told media persons Monday that the CM had collapsed at a public gathering in Vadodara Sunday after feeling dizzy owing to tiredness. Rupani, he added, was having a busy schedule for the past one week, in which he attended parliamentary board meetings till late night, gave interviews to news channels and then started election tours in Bhavnagar, Jamnagar and Vadodara.

The CM had a mild fever for the past couple of days and had taken medicine for the same, Patel said. “He does not have any (co-morbid) condition, like diabetes or blood pressure, and is having mild symptoms of Covid-19… Possibly he will be kept at the hospital for a week’s time, as per the advice of the doctors,” he added. As per the Covid-19 protocol, no visitors were being allowed to meet him.

Patel ruled out the necessity to give charge of the CM’s powers to anyone. “There is no question of giving charge. The CM is staying in touch
with whomever he wants to give instructions to, consult or talk through mobile phone… Our senior leaders, like state party president C R Paatil, are talking to him whenever necessary. The Prime Minister has also enquired about his health. So, our national and state-level leadership is conversing with him. Chief Secretary and other top officers are also getting guidance from him (Rupani) and no issue has cropped up (in the smooth functioning of the government).”

Patel said the CM had come in touch with a number of persons since public dealing is part of his duty. He added intense checking will be done of those who came in touch with the CM. According to sources, CM’s personal secretary Shailesh Mandaliya has also tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to UNMICR.

Superintendent of Police (CM Security) Chintan Teraiya said around eight to nine security personnel, who had also come in close contact with the CM, have been put under isolation and their samples have been taken for RT-PCR tests. He added none of them had tested positive till Monday evening.

The Returning Officer for Vadodara Municipal Corporation polls, Resident Additional Collector (RAC) D R Patel, meanwhile, has taken cognizance of two complaints submitted by the Congress seeking a direction that 44 BJP candidates and other party leaders, who were accompanying Rupani on Sunday, are “quarantined” and refrained from meeting voters to “stop the possible spread of the virus”. “We have forwarded the complaints to the VMC health department on Monday evening, stating the existing guidelines should be followed without any leniency as it is a matter of the health of the voters,” he said.

VMC medical officer (health) Dr Devesh Patel said several BJP leaders had already undergone RT-PCR tests Monday and the corporation had asked the leaders to watch their symptoms. “As per the new ICMR guidelines, which are in place, we do not isolate everyone unless they are symptomatic. So, they can watch their symptoms and very close contacts can be isolated. Senior BJP leaders have undergone tests today,” he added.

In a letter to the Vadodara Returning Officer, district Congress president Prashant Patel had urged the Election Commission to “issue a directive to the health department to follow the guidelines in case of the BJP candidates and leaders, who were in contact with CM Rupani Sunday. They should undergo a medical examination and isolate themselves for a few days…”.

Rupani, who was the star campaigner at three venues in Vadodara Sunday, had interacted with the party’s candidates of 11 wards of the VMC. At his third and final public address in Nizampura, he fainted midway during his speech while being flanked by Vadodara MP Ranjan Bhatt, party MLAs, office-bearers and the 44 candidates.

On Monday, dismissing the Congress’s complaint as a “gimmick”, BJP’s Vadodara general secretary Sunil Solanki said, “The Congress does not
have any other issue to raise against the BJP, so they have complained to the EC. We have followed the Covid-19 guidelines. Everyone was wearing masks and using sanitisers at the event, including 44 candidates. Our leaders have undergone tests. Senior leaders, like Bhargav Bhatt and some candidates, have already tested negative. Our city unit president Dr Vijay Shah has already taken Covid-19 vaccine after defeating the virus last year, so he does not need to undergo tests. We have told the candidates to use their judgment and isolate if they have symptoms, but until that time why should they stop canvassing?”

Two BJP leaders test positive

Two senior BJP leaders, organising secretary Bhikhu Dalsaniya and Kutch MP Vinod Chavda, who is also general secretary of the party, have also tested positive for Covid-19 and are under treatment at Ahmedabad-based UNMICR. Both leaders have mild symptoms and are stable.
Chavda and Dalsaniya are a part of the BJP parliamentary board that recently finalised the party candidates for the local body polls. While Chavda tested positive five days ago, Dalsaniya tested positive on February 12.

On Monday, Dalsaniya issued a video message stating he and Chavda were admitted to UNMICR after testing positive for Covid-19 and their health was fine. Dalsaniya also expressed regret that he could not join party workers in the campaigning for the upcoming local body elections in the state.

Meanwhile, the BJP is planning to reschedule or cancel six public gatherings that Rupani was to address in Surat and Ahmedabad in next two-three days. Party spokesperson Yamal Vyas said, “Today, he (CM Rupani) was to address public gatherings in Surat with party’s state president C R Paatil. So, Paatil has addressed those alone. We may have to cancel other public gatherings where the CM was scheduled to take part.”

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