Concerns over violation of COVID-19 norms during Congress padayatra

Thousands throng Sangam to join the march

Being held in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases across the State, the Congress padayatra on Sunday flouted COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) as well as the weekend curfew in place, heightening fears of the spread of the pandemic. The State Government, which had so far threatened action against the violators of COVID norms, looked mute in its response to handle the situation.

Despite appeals by the BJP Government, which had threatened to stop the padayatra, the Congress had remained adamant about taking out the march. It had said it would strictly follow CAB. However, it turned out to be a nightmare as thousands thronged Sangam and joined the padayatra.

While Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah urged the workers to wear masks and gloves, and threatened to throw out those not following the guidelines, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, whose brainchild is the padayatra, was seen moving around without a mask. Though most leaders on the dais were seen with masks, thousands of workers who participated in the padayatra, did not wear masks and given the huge surge of crowd, social distance norm was thrown out of the window.

When the response of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was sought by reporters in Bengaluru, he said a notice had been issued, and action would be initiated as per law. Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the district administration had been asked to take action since children were also seen in the padayatra.

However, appealing to the Congress to reduce the number of participants and be responsible to limit the pandemic surge, Minister for Major and Minor Irrigation Govind Karjol said any action would not provide a solution. “Leaders have to be a model for society,.” he said.

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