NEW DELHI :
Opposition parties in India, particularly the Congress, have demanded that the ongoing budget session of Parliament, which is scheduled to be held till 3 April, be curtailed in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. These views have also been echoed by a section of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
A few Rajya Sabha members attended House proceedings wearing face masks on Wednesday.
Senior Congress leaders Rajeev Gowda and Anand Sharma have raised their objections in the Rajya Sabha.
“It is a matter of concern, especially when we are asking everyone to practice social distancing, that Parliament is functioning. We should be setting an example to the rest of the country...We are probably most at risk within the Parliament—the House of Elders with extremely senior persons are most at risk," Gowda said in the Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour.
However, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said members of Parliament cannot be sending a message that were panicking. “About 130 crore Indians are determined to fight this virus. If in this House, we don’t exhibit that determination and instead panic then it will not be correct," Naqvi said.
The BJP has, however, decided not to organise any agitation or demonstration. Senior party leaders were of the view that this decision should hold for at least one month.
“The prime minister said during the parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday that because of corona we should avoid any type of agitation, dharna, demonstration. Keeping that in view, BJP has decided that for the next one month the party will not participate in any agitation and demonstration," said J.P. Nadda, BJP president.
The party has issued a circular to all state units, to spread awareness to tackle the threat of Covid-19 in small groups and tell people of the dos and dont’s, Nadda said. “When the prime minister held discussions with Saarc leaders, he had said that we should be alert, maintain hygiene but should steer clear of panic," Nadda said.
“All state units have been told about it, and a circular has been issued on this issue," he added.