Written byShalini Ojha
Completely disrespecting the social distancing guidelines, which world organizations have deemed mandatory in the fight against coronavirus, Karnataka's Health Minister B Sriramulu participated in a massive rally on Tuesday at Chitradurga district.
Innumerable people gathered to welcome him, and the BJP leader also greeted them with smiles.
Naturally, this incident got the ruling BJP criticism from the opposition.
Read on to know what happened.
The minister went to the Parashuramapura area of the district to to offer 'bagina' to Vedavathi river.
He chose to move in an open truck, making it "easier" for his supporters to shower flowers on him and raise slogans. He was also honored with a huge garland.
In the procession, local MLA Thippa Reddy also accompanied the minister.
When asked about the incident, which has naturally sparked controversy, the minister said it wasn't a "planned event".
"I came for river worship. I joined this program at the behest of the workers. I am constantly appealing to everyone. Follow these rules of social distancing, we have also made guidelines for this," he said, adding that he wore a mask all along.
The elaborate arrangements for his welcome and the gigantic garland of apples offered make it difficult to believe that the event wasn't planned well in advance.
Some of his supporters, who were seen in the clip, weren't wearing masks.
It's also pertinent to highlight that religious activities have been allowed from June 8. Large gatherings will be banned even after the aforementioned date.
#WATCH Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu takes part in a procession in Chitradurga; social distancing norms being flouted at the event, amid COVID19 pandemic— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2020
Total number of COVID19 positive cases in Karnataka is 3408 pic.twitter.com/9Z5vXNLq6B
Slamming Sriramulu, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said, "If a minister himself does this, what about the public? They should stop such events and work for the people at this time instead."
To recall, the JD(S) chief had himself received ire in April after his son Nikhil tied the knot in a lavish ceremony in April, when the lockdown was the strictest.
The tally of coronavirus infections in Karnataka stands at 3,796 and 52 have lost their lives. Earlier, Karnataka levied restrictions on incoming travel, especially on those coming from Maharashtra, the worst-affected state.
An institutional quarantine of seven days, followed by home quarantine for a week, was made mandatory for those coming from the neighboring state.
Meanwhile, Karnataka plans to open malls from June 8.
Politicians tossing social distancing guidelines isn't a new phenomenon. Just last month, a clip of former Andhra Pradesh CM, Chandrababu Naidu, greeting his supporters on a highway went viral. He had returned to the state after weeks of spending time in Telangana.
The ruling YSR Congress asked Naidu to apologize and suggested that he should remain in quarantine.
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