Corona surge in Bihar : JD(U) and RJD shut offices

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Patna, Apr 15 (PTI) Considering the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in Bihar as in other parts of the country, major political parties in Bihar including the ruling JD(U) and main opposition RJD have closed their party offices.

While JD(U) shut its state headquarters here from Thursday till April 20, the RJD locked its office from April 15 till further orders seeing the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.

Both the parties have put up notices to this effect on the main gates of their state headquarters on Bir Chand Patel Marg in the heart of the city.

Other major political parties including BJP, Congress and CPI(ML) are operating their offices with strict instructions to abide by COVID-19 protocol.

Bihar Congress President Madan Jha, who is himself recuperating at home after testing positive, told PTI 'We will take a call on closing office after consulting party leaders on Friday'.

Bihar is witnessing a substantial increase of the number of coronavirus incidences daily, majority of them in Patna. The state had reported 4786 new cases Wednesday, taking the toll of coronavirus cases to 2,95,171.

'Taking into account the Bihar governments sincere efforts to check the spread of the virus, state JD(U) president Umesh Kushwaha has taken the decision to close the office from today till April 20,' party spokesman Arvind Nishad told PTI.

The notice board outside the gate has the telephone numbers for the needy to contact office bearers, Nishad said.

His senior party colleague Niraj Kumar said the decision is in tune with the Nitish Kumar government's concern to minimise damage by the infection.

RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwary said that party leader Tejashwi Yadav had decided to close the state party office to workers and supporters two days ago. He had allowed only office bearers to function observing all regulations, but from Thursday it was shut for everybody.

'The closure will be in force till further order,' he said.

Many RJD leaders including party supremo Lalu Prasad's man Friday Bhola Yadav have been infected.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is monitoring the situation on a daily basis had asked all political parties to regulate their activities keeping in mind the rapid spread of the virus in the state.

An all-party meeting presided by Governor Phagu Chauhan has been called on April 17 to discuss the coronavirus situation in detail and to take further steps to restrict the spred of the infection in the state.

Kumar who took the second dose of the vaccine on Thursday has stressed on ramping up testing and intensification of vaccination drive to deal with challenges posed by the second wave of the deadly disease.

BJP party office in-charge Suresh Rungta said that though the state office has not been closed, but all COVID regulations are strictly followed in the premises.

CPI(ML), which has emerged as a big party in the state by winning 13 seats as a constitient of the Grand Alliance in the 2020 state assembly polls, has also not closed its office.

'We have not closed the party office, but all laid down norms like wearing of masks, use of sanitiser and social distancing are being followed in the office,' CPI(ML) secretary Kunal told PTI.

The disease is raging in Bihar infecting a minister and top level of bureaucracy, including the chief secretary.

Social Welfare Minister Madan Sahni, chief secretary Arun Kumar Singh, additional chief secretary in the home department, Chaitanya Prasad and the principal secretary to the finance department S Siddarth are in the long list of infected persons in Bihar. PTI SNS KK KK KK KK