GANDHINAGAR: Three tribal Congress MLAs on Monday walked out of the Gujarat Assembly during a heated debate with the ruling BJP over the sudden rise in coronavirus cases.
While the Congress blamed the India-England cricket series held at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera area of Ahmedabad, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel refused to buy the argument and said cases are also emerging in Surat and other districts as well as other states like Maharashtra where no cricket matches were played recently.
The Deputy CM even asked why the opposition Congress was not questioning its own government in Maharashtra where over 40,000 new coronavirus cases are emerging daily.
Enraged by some remarks made by Patel about "Adivasis" during the heated discussion, tribal Congress MLAs Anand Chaudhari, Punabhai Gamit and Sukhram Rarhva walked out of the House as a mark of protest.
Speaker Rajendra Trivedi expunged the remarks made by Nitin Patel.
Patel had asked Chaudhari, who represents Mandvi (ST) seat of Surat, to prove if anyone from his constituency had come to Ahmedabad to watch the cricket match.
In his address, Congress MLA from Ahmedabad Gyasuddin Shaikh claimed the "third wave" of coronavirus is mainly due to the cricket matches played in the Narendra Modi stadium.
"While Namaste Trump in February and Diwali in November last year were responsible for the first and second wave, cricket matches at Motera were responsible for the third wave of coronavirus," said Shaikh.
"Despite claims of social distancing, we saw how 70,000 spectators were sitting inside the stadium without following such norms," alleged Shaikh.
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani slammed the BJP government in Gujarat for "allowing" the cricket series and gathering over 70,000 people at one place, and said it should be ashamed of such an act which had "resulted in sudden spike in cases".
Patel, however, said there was no connection between the cricket matches and sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in Gujarat.
"As against Gujarat (where cases are comparatively low), thousands of cases are emerging every day (in other states). Namaste Trump or cricket has to do nothing with spike in cases in Gujarat. While the stadium is in Ahmedabad, cases are also emerging in considerable numbers in Surat and Rajkot. Do you have any explanation for that?" asked Patel.
"The Congress only tries to incite people. If you are so concerned, why don't you give advice to your government in Maharashtra, where 45,000 cases are emerging daily. Why don't you seek explanation about an extortion of Rs 100 crore there," asked Patel.
When Chaudhari, an MLA from Surat district, objected to Patel's logic, the BJP leader asked him to show one person who had gone to Ahmedabad from his constituency to watch the match.
Upset over some specific remarks made by Patel about "Adivasis", Chaudhari and two other tribal MLAs staged a walk out in protest.
Later, Patel urged the House to close the chapter as he inadvertently made those remarks and did not want to hurt anyone.