As key politicians in the state test positive for coronavirus, the Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday said anyone not wearing a mask will be subjected to penalties regardless of their position as a minister, MP or MLA.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a number of ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior bureaucrats have tested positive. Office-bearers from the RSS and BJP, including state head VD Sharma and organisation general secretary Suhas Bhagat, have also tested positive.
“There won’t be any visit from MP or MLA in districts till August 14, there won’t be any meeting which requires a mic, all rallies and meetings are banned till August 14 and if required virtual meetings could be carried out but not more than five persons could gather at a single place,” said Home Minister Narottam Mishra.
A mask or a cotton towel is mandatory for everyone and those found in violation would be punished with a fine.
Mishra said districts will be placed under lockdown only when there is no alternative measure to rein in infections. All these decisions were taken in a review meeting chaired by Chouhan through video conferencing.
Chouhan warned public representatives against violation of safety norms, cautioning this could attract fines and registration of cases. He lauded the Morena and Gwalior administrations for bringing down the rate of infections.
The opposition Congress has attacked the ministers and BJP leaders for not wearing masks and violating social distancing norms. Mishra himself was slammed for avoiding masks and taking part in crowded gatherings.
On Thursday, Mishra was seen draping a cotton towel around his neck and wearing a mask.
Congress media cell co-ordinator Narendra Saluja on Wednesday had said that citizens should not be subjected to any punitive measure for not wearing masks and defying social distancing norms unless the fine is imposed on Mishra for similar violations.
Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya is involved in a face-off with the district administration in Indore as he wants the cancellation of Sunday lockdown in the city ahead of Raksha Bandhan festival on Monday. Collector Manish Singh has said it will be difficult to contain Covid-19 spread if markets are opened in the current situation. Including Indore, red zones are witnessing Saturday-Sunday lockdown.