CHANDIGARH: Twenty-three MLAs in Punjab have tested positive for the novel coronavirus so far. The development comes just two days before the beginning of the monsoon session of the Assembly. Of the infected MLAs, 14 are from the ruling Congress, six from the Shiromani Akali Dal, and three from AAP.
Speaker Rana KP Singh has made the Coronavirus negative report mandatory for all the MLAs for entry into the House. The state Assembly has a strength of 117 MLAs.
The Congress MLAs whose reports came positive include three cabinet minister -- Gupreet Singh Kangar, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Sham Sunder Arora besides Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti. Recently, another cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa had tested positive but was discharged from the hospital after being recovered.
The other legislators are Pargat Singh, Amit Vij, Hardial Kamboj, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Nazar Singh Manshahia, Dr. Dharamvir Agnihotri, Harjot Kamal, Sanjeev Talwar, Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, and Amrik Singh Dhillon.
The six SAD MLAs whose reports came positive for coronavirus are Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra, NK Sharma, Manpreet Singh Ayali, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Rozy Barkandi, and Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal. The AAP legislators who got infected are Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori, and Principal Budh Ram.
Notably, most of the infected AAP and SAD MLAs had attended the legislative party meetings on Tuesday.
"We will follow all Covid-19 guidelines, but the government has not yet intimated us about it. This session should be postponed for few days as a few MLAs of our party (APP) and that of Shiromani Akali Dal have tested Covid-19 positive," senior AAP leader and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said.
He said the Assembly must debate on serious issues such as the power tariff, river water, liquor mafia, and the three farm ordinances issued by the Centre before the Parliament session begins next month.
Speaker Rana KP Singh said, "Twentythree MLAs have so far tested positive for Covid-19 and the rest will attend the session with social distancing. Each MLA will occupy one bench."
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said as 23 legislators including cabinet ministers have tested positive for Covid-19, one can only imagine how grave the situation is in the state.