Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi announced today that he has contracted coronavirus and has been admitted to Patna's All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. The declaration came amid full-scale campaigning for the three-phase assembly election that's less than a week away.
On Sunday, the 68-year-old had held joint campaign with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, 69, in Buxar and Bhojpur. So far, they have attended four political meetings together. Mr Modi campaigned last on Monday -- the meeting was attended by senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain.
The assembly election in the state will be held on October 28, November 3 and 7 for a new government and the results will be declared on November 10.
This afternoon, Mr Modi tweeted: "Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild temp.No temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal.Will be back soon for campaigning."
Tested positive for CORONA.All parameters perfectly normal.Started with mild https://t.co/cTwCzt88DL temp.for last 2 days.Admitted to AIIMS Patna for better monitoring.CT scan of lungs normal.Will be back soon for campaigning.- Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) October 22, 2020
The Bihar campaign, involving full-scale political rallies, comes after the Centre relaxed the ban on large gatherings in October in view of the approaching festive season. The final details were left to the states.
Today, a row erupted in Madhya Pradesh after the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court put strict restrictions on physical rallies and poll meetings in nine districts in view of the pandemic.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the state will approach the Supreme Court "to seek justice" -- pointing to the example of Bihar and the rest of Madhya Pradesh, where political rallies are being held unabated.
Cutting across party lines, the campaign in Bihar is accompanied by severe laxity in coronavirus safety measures. Thousands have been congregating at the rally venues with no social distancing. Few are seen wearing masks.
The BJP has made the promise of free Covid vaccines a part of its election manifesto -- a move that has drawn criticism on social media. Although a race is on worldwide for a vaccine, there is little hope of having one in the market before next year.