New Delhi: Tripura BJP MLA and former health minister Sudip Roy Barman is said to have hosted a party at his residence in the MLA hostel Sunday flouting norms imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to sources.
The sources also said around 80 people were invited to the event that took place a day before Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had announced a three-day lockdown to reduce Covid-19 spread. The virus has infected 3,900 and killed 13 people in the state so far.
“We have received information about this event. An inquiry is underway to decide what further action should be taken. We don’t know the exact number of people present at the gathering,” Manik Das, superintendent of police, West Agartala told ThePrint.
Barman, however, denied the allegation. “This is completely false. The number of people was about 20, including the four security personnel at the hostel, and we just had dinner together. It was hosted for all members of the hostel. No outsiders were present,” he told ThePrint.
Giving details about the event, Barman said, “There were two tables and three-four people came turn by turn, had their dinner and went back to their rooms. No tent or any such structure was erected. We practiced social distancing and took proper precautions.”
The state BJP leadership, meanwhile, is said to be “extremely upset” with the MLA’s conduct.
“He has given a bad name to the government. How can a ruling party legislator indulge in such gross violation of rules? The leadership is looking into the matter and has taken a very serious note of it,” a state BJP functionary told ThePrint.
Sources also said Hemendra Chakraborty, a chef, had admitted to being called to Barman’s official residence Sunday night to cook food for the attendees.
“We have heard of the matter. The government will take action according to the law. From the party’s side, we have nothing to do with it. If what is alleged is true, proper action will be taken against him,” BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya told ThePrint.
Joined Tripura BJP in 2017
Barman had joined the BJP in 2017, but has been the undisputed Agartala MLA since 1998, winning four elections with repeated landslide victories.
He was in charge of the state’s health ministry, the IT, science and technology department, as well as its public works department before being sacked for alleged anti-party activities on 31 May 2019.
Barman entered politics by joining the Congress and was elected as a member of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee in 1997. He was subsequently appointed as senior vice president of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee in 2001.
In 2016, he, along with his father and former Tripura chief minister Samir Ranjan Barman, had defected to the All India Trinamool Congress.
“In Tripura, Congress has lost all credibility after it entered into an alliance with CPM in West Bengal. How can you fight against CPM when you have an alliance with them in another state?” Barman had said.
He joined the BJP soon after, in 2017.
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