At a time when the entire country is trying to contain the spread of coronavirus and the central and state governments are actively asking people to maintain social distancing, Shivraj Singh Chouhan decided to take oath as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister in a packed Raj Bhavan.
He was sworn in by Governor Lalji Tandon on Monday and passed the floor test in the state assembly on Tuesday by a voice vote. After Chouhan passed the floor test, the House was adjourned till March 27.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation last week, had stressed the importance of social distancing and the World Health Organisation has also advised it as a preventive measure against the new coronavirus.
BJP also tweeted a video of former Chief Minister Kamal Nath greeting Chouhan after the swearing-in ceremony. The tweet was later deleted.
Several replies to the BJP’s tweet asked why the leaders were not maintaining social distancing at a time when coronavirus cases have risen in the country.
The total number of COVID-19 patients across the country is now 446 and the death toll has reached 9. Madhya Pradesh has till now reported seven positive coronavirus cases, according to the Union health ministry.
After taking oath, Chouhan said fighting COVID-19 remains his top priority and held a meeting with officials to review steps taken to contain the spread.
“We are passing through a very testing time. Hence, it will not be proper to shake hands or receive bouquets in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. We all will defeat coronavirus jointly. It is our duty to protect elderly people (who are more vulnerable) from coronavirus,” he was quoted as saying by PTI after the swearing-in ceremony.
He also urged people to strictly follow state government directives issued from time to time to combat the pandemic. He also imposed a curfew in Bhopal and Jabalpur from Tuesday.
Several people replied to Madhya Pradesh BJP’s tweet, asking why the gathering couldn’t have been avoided and why the leaders were not following social distancing rules.
The BJP in Madhya Pradesh had also tweeted pictures of 22 former Congress MLAs joining the party on March 21. The pictures show at least 20 people posing together for the photographs, prompting Twitter users to again ask why the Prime Minister’s appeal on social distancing was not being followed (see here and here)
Here are some other tweets by Madhya Pradesh BJP and party’s state chief VD Sharma which show politics in the time of coronavirus.