The Corona lock down in the state of Andhra Pradesh witnessed numerous instances of casual approach and violations that in turn have led to an increase in the number of Corona cases, also involving violations by the political leaders.
While the opposition parties have raised fingers at the YSRCP legislators for indulging in violations of lock down rules and accused them of spreading corona, the ruling party leaders have outrightly denied the same. The YSRCP MP Vijaya Sai Reddy took to twitter on April 28, 2020 to fire the leaders from erstwhile government (read TDP) and called the “ignorant and stupid” for raising question on the authenticity of the numbers of tests and holding the government responsible for the spread of corona. Mr. Vijay Sai Reddy went to advise the opposition to have tutorials on Corona.
While the MP’s aggression is seen as the political advance to overpower the opposition’s tone, the facts speak otherwise. On April 21, 2020 YSRCP MLA Biyyapu Madhusudan Reddy from the Srikalahasti in Chittoor district organized a rally with 35 vehicles to distribute groceries. After this much criticized publicity stunt, 12 government officials who participated in the event tested positive for COVID-19 and Srikalahasti Assembly turned as a major corona virus hot spot in the state with a sudden jump of 19 cases in one day.
Madhusudan Reddy was not the only YSRCP MLA who flouted norms. YSRCP MLA Venkataiah Goud from Palamaneru Assembly constituency of Chittoor district had inaugurated a bridge with about 150 people in his constituency. There was no social distancing maintained at the event, which led to the further spread of the virus around the segment.
In another instance, YSRCP MLA R.K. Roja, from Nagari constituency in Chittoor district participated in a bore well inauguration program with her followers. YSRCP MLA Prasanna Kumar Reddy from Kovur constituency in Nellore district has violated the lockdown rules and is seen distributing groceries which prompted a gathering of 4,500 people.
Responding to a PIL, on May 5, 2020 the AP HC has served notices to these 4 YSRCP MLAs. The apex court asked, neither the MLAs nor the leaders of the ruling party have come forward to explain themselves, let alone comment or issue a public apology. The HC issued notices to the DGP and the State Government seeking a counter to be filed in a week on the specifying if the legislators were tested for COVID19 and action taken for violation of lock down.
As a leader of the party, Vijay Sai Reddy might guard his fellow legislators through political aggression, but as part of the elected government the MP and his fellow legislators from the ruling party must demonstrate their responsibilities in better ways amid the pandemic.