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Covid-positive Congress MP Punia violated Epidemic Act, we’ll move court — Chhattisgarh BJP

Chhattisgarh BJP says Congress leader P.L. Punia violated Epidemic Diseases Act & Disaster Management Act as he held public meetings in Raipur despite being Covid-positive.

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Raipur: The Chhattisgarh BJP has threatened to move court seeking action against Congress party’s state in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP P.L. Punia for participating in public meetings last week despite Covid-19 positive.

BJP leaders said Punia violated the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act, and that it is planning to seek intervention of the judiciary because the Bhupesh Baghel government has not taken any action against the Congress national general secretary.

Former BJP MLA and the party’s Raipur district president Shrichand Sundrani said he had demanded action against the leader but the state government ignored the violation.

“This is a clear-cut case of violation of the Epidemic Act and the Disaster Management Act, so we are fully prepared to approach the court,” Sundrani said.

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BJP’s allegations against Punia

Sundrani alleged that Punia deliberately concealed information about his Covid-positive status and met several fellow party workers and government officials, including the chief minister, the assembly speaker, cabinet ministers, and addressed several meetings during his state visit.

Punia allegedly submitted a sample for Covid test in Raipur on 9 October. However, instead of isolating himself after that, he continued to participate in public events — an open “violation” of the two laws. He met people on 10 October too, while his test report came positive in the evening, said the BJP leaders.

“According to the protocols, the Congress in-charge should have been isolated after submitting the test sample. But he deliberately kept interacting with the party’s workers and endangered their lives too. By doing this, he has violated Sections 188, 269, 270 of the Disaster Management Act. Earlier, we had demanded action from the state government but it took no action in this case,” Sundrani said.

“If there had been any other person in place of Punia, all kinds of legal actions would have already been taken against him,” he added.

“After endangering the life and health of the entire state cabinet, Punia returned to Delhi on 10 October evening by flight, thereby also endangering the lives of fellow passengers,” Sundrani said. “We have completed all preparations and a petition will be filed in Raipur District Court within next 2-3 days.”

On 11 October, BJP Lok Sabha MP Sunil Soni had also accused Punia of travelling to Delhi by air despite being aware that he was Covid-positive.

“Mr. Punia is a senior leader of the ruling party. According to the rules, he should have been quarantined here after being found Covid positive during his stay in Raipur. However, with the tacit assistance of the government he silently returned to Delhi,” said BJP state president Vishnu Deo Sai.

Sai added Punia got himself re-examined after his return to Delhi and his report came positive once again. “From this, it is clear that Punia had no trust in Chhattisgarh’s doctors as well as the state’s health department,” he said.

Punia publicly revealed about his infection in a tweet on 12 October. “Upon reaching Delhi from Raipur, my wife and my corona test reports have come positive. Both of us are showing no symptoms. We have quarantined ourselves under home isolation.”

He added, “In this epidemic, physical distancing is the best treatment. If you feel the need, please consult a doctor.”

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Congress says political drama

The Congress, however, completely rejected the BJP’s attack on Punia, calling it a political drama.

According to party leaders, Punia got tested in Raipur to fulfill the necessary medical requirement for his impending eye surgery, and not because he had symptoms.

“Punia ji has to have eye surgery for which he got himself tested for Covid-19 in Raipur. Under the currently prevailing circumstances, a corona test is mandatory before any type of surgery. Punia did not show any symptoms of corona infection for which he would have quarantined himself,” said Congress state communications chief Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.

“Even before his result was disclosed on the next day, he had already returned to Delhi. The BJP leaders’ allegations that the Congress in-charge was fully aware about his Covid-19 positive status before returning to Delhi, are completely wrong and fallacious,” he said.

“After returning to Delhi, he got himself re-examined and then voluntarily made his report public,” added Trivedi.

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