All public places in the country shutting down one after the other to stop the march of coronavirus, questions are being raised why parliament should remain functioning. Pointing out that the "average age in Rajya Sabha is 64", Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien today questioned if the government's move to keep the house functioning is linked to Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP, which is pushing for a trust vote against the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, moved the Supreme Court last week after the assembly was adjourned till March 26 in view of coronavirus.
Its three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh had taunted the Congress, saying "Even coronavirus cannot save the Kamal Nath government".
"Why should parliament be running? Ask the Prime Minister. Is there a Madhya Pradesh link?" Mr O'Brien said. The Trinamool Congress, he said, "cannot be bothered with nonsense in Madhya Pradesh... We got to fight and win this together."
"This is not a 56-inch chest match," the Trinamool member from Rajya Sabha said. "You are saying don't sit in big groups. But parliament is on. We don't have even 3 inches between us. Besides MPS, security personnel, senior bureaucrats, support staff," he said.
Admitting that the counterview could be that if parliament shuts down, there would be panic, he said that cannot be accepted. "Whether it is coronavirus or railways, the government cannot always have the answers. If you believe in cooperative federalism, put your ego in your pockets and learn from each other," he said.
Today, after some MPs voiced apprehension, the Prime minister said the representatives of the people should lead with example. Arguing against the adjourning of parliament before schedule, he cited the examples of the airline crew and armed forces, who have been braving all odds to ensure people are taken care of.
Junior external affairs minister V Muraleedharan recently went into self-quarentine, saying though he was not infected, he was doing it as a precautionary measure, since he had visited a research facility in Kerala where a doctor tested positive.