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From COVID-deniers to flouting social distancing: How Rahul Gandhi’s anti-Farm Bills rallies could be next superspreader hotspots

During his speech at the Varnala Chowk in Sangrur at Rahul Gandhi's rally on Monday, Balbir Singh Sidhu declared that the farm laws passed by the Indian Parliament recently are more dangerous than the Coronavirus pandemic.

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu has tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus on Tuesday. Worryingly for the Congress party, he had shared stage with Rahul Gandhi, CM Amarinder Singh and other Ministers during the tractor rally at Sangrur on October 5. And more of a concern for the Punjab administration is the fact that Rahul Gandhi has been addressing gatherings on the 6th of February as well.

The only saving grace for the Congress party appears to be that not too many people appear to have actually attended the rally as farmers do not appear to be too interests in these protests.

During his speech at the Varnala Chowk in Sangrur at Rahul Gandhi’s rally on Monday, Balbir Singh Sidhu declared that the farm laws passed by the Indian Parliament recently are more dangerous than the Coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, in an apparent bid to justify the lack of masks and social distancing at the rally, he claimed that masks don’t matter in front of “Modl’s pandemic”.

Balbir Singh Sidhu said, “Looking at the present situation, it seems that we can control Covid cases in another 20-22 days, but Modi’s pandemic in the form of farm laws is more dangerous due to which people had to come on the roads.” Later, he added, “Modi di mahamari de samne sanu mask da koi farak nahi painda…(before Modi’s pandemic farm laws, masks hardly matter to us)”.

People on stage were wearing masks and observing social distancing but those in the audience did not take any precautions as they stood in close proximity and raised slogans against Narendra Modi. The gathering included little children. Surendra Singh, a gol gappa seller from Preet Nagar who was not wearing any mask, told Indian Express, “If farmer will be affected, the price of my gol gappe will also be affected. So I have come here.”

Another attendee, also not wearing masks, said, “Corona is just a way to threaten us to sit back home. We are hardworking people, what can corona do to us? If we will sit back, who will fight for us?” The positive test for the Punjab health Minister demonstrates remarkable callousness on his part that could cost the people in the state dearly.

As per reports, the Punjab Health Minister developed mild symptoms on Tuesday morning following which he underwent the rapid antigen test that confirmed he was infected with the Coronavirus positive. It appears that he attended the gathering at Sangrur while he was infected with the Coronavirus. Furthermore, the people at the gathering were not wearing masks and observing social distancing. Thus, these rallies could very well turn into new hotspots for Coronavirus transmission.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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