Karnataka deputy CM tests positive; Covid cloud over assembly session | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan and Congress legislator Priyank Kharge on Saturday became the latest Karnataka politicians to test positive for coronavirus, a development that casts a shadow on the monsoon session of the legislature that starts on Monday.
Earlier this week, home minister Basavaraj Bommai and food and civil supplies minister K Gopalaiah were diagnosed with Covid-19 amid a continuing surge in the number of cases across Karnataka.
All legislators, bureaucrats, support staff, officials and journalists who intend to attend the assembly session underwent mandatory RT-PCR tests on Friday and Saturday. Complete results will be known by Sunday evening or Monday morning, and there are concerns that more cases may come to light. If this happens, assembly speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri’s already challenging task of holding the session safely will become more difficult.
“If more people test positive, the government may be forced to curtail the 10-day session,” a senior official said.
Ashwath Narayan and Kharge shared their health status on Twitter. “In anticipation of the upcoming assembly session, I underwent a #Covid19 test and my results have returned positive. I am asymptomatic and will be under home isolation,” Ashwath Narayan wrote. He requested everyone who came in contact with him to take precautions. More than 500 people underwent RT-PCR tests on Friday and Saturday. Those negative will be re-tested every 72 hours during the course of the session. According to an official in the legislature, four employees from the department of personnel and administrative services and two from the assembly secretariat tested positive on Saturday.
Siddaramaiah, leader of opposition in the assembly, and DK Shivakumar, state Congress president, took a test on Saturday. With a seating capacity of 400 across two Houses, Karnataka has the best assembly and council halls in the country. Staggered seating and restricted staff numbers are among the new safety steps. Not many MLAs and ministers are expected to attend the session on the first day as they are not required to mark attendance.
Since March, more than 70 legislators have contracted the coronavirus infection. Many, including chief minister BS Yediyurappa, have fully recovered. Ministers B Sriramulu, CT Ravi, BC Patil, Anand Singh, Byrathi Basavaraj, Prabhu Chavan, A Shivaram Hebbar, KS Eshwarappa and Shashikala Jolle had also tested positive, but they are healthy now.
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Sagar Biswas

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