Pressure increased on the government on Friday to end the ongoing Parliament session at the earliest when several MPs quarantined themselves after fears they might have come in contact with people infected with coronavirus. The Budget session is scheduled to end on April 3, and is yet to pass the finance bill.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje tweeted that she and her son, Dushyant Singh, have self isolated themselves after attending a party in Lucknow where singer Kanika Kapoor was also present. The two, however, have not been tested positive yet.
Earlier in the day, Kapoor quarantined herself after testing positive for coronavirus. In an Instagram post, the 41-year-old singer said she returned from London 10-days back, but developed signs of flu in the last four days. She also alleged that she had to make repeated requests to the health authorities in Lucknow to get her tested.
Kapoor had landed in India from the UK on March 9. According to her father, she had attended at least four parties in Lucknow, including with family and friends, between March 13 and 16.
One of the parties was at Lucknow's Taj Mahal Hotel, which Raje, Singh and at least a 100 others attended. Uttar Pradesh government has ordered the hotel shut until further orders.
A video has surfaced of Kapoor at the Holi festivities hosted by UP Lokayukta Sanjay Mishra on March 15. Kapoor had also stayed with her extended family in Kanpur. Raje and Dushyant, along with several politicians, and bureaucrats, had attended the party at Taj Mahal hotel in Lucknow on March 13. UP health minister Jai Pratap Singh and Congress politician Jitin Prasada, who have quarantined themselves, also attended the party.
Meanwhile, Dushyant, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member, had actively participated in parliamentary proceedings and meetings after his return from Lucknow. On Wednesday, Dushyant was at Rashtrapati Bhavan, along with over 100 other MPs from UP and Rajasthan, for a breakfast meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind. In photographs tweeted by the President's office, Singh can be seen standing right behind the President and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Later that day, Dushyant attended a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on transport, aviation and culture. More than a dozen MPs and senior bureaucrats had attended that meeting. On Thursday, Dushyant attended a party in the national capital, where several other MPs were present.
Some who had interacted with Dushyant since his return from Lucknow, including Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien, BJP's Varun Gandhi and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel, quarantined themselves pending tests.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh said he has quarantined himself, too, as he interacted with O’Brien.
“While in Lucknow, I attended a dinner with my son Dushyant and his in-laws. Kanika, who has unfortunately tested positive, was a guest. As a matter of abundant caution, my son and I have immediately self-quarantined," Raje said.
O'Brien tweeted, "This government is putting us all at risk. The PM says self-isolate yourself but Parliament is on. I was sitting next to Dushyant the other day for 2.5 hours. The session should be deferred.”
In Lucknow, journalists who had attended the health minister’s press conference have been asked to put themselves in isolation.
Localities where Kapoor’s relatives live in Lucknow have been put under a lockdown, reports said. UP health authorities have started of contact tracing of all who attended these parties and might have come in contact with Kapoor.