Gandhinagar, Oct 6 (PTI) Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said political leaders have a 'greater responsibility' to follow COVID-19 guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks, so that they don't send a wrong message to the public.
Rupani's statement came even as several instances have emerged of senior leaders from the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress participating in functions, rallies and addressing large gatherings without following safety norms.
'Everybody should follow rules related to social distancing and wearing masks, and they should do so of their own accord in their fight against coronavirus. It is not that we are arresting common man and not politicians (for flouting these rules),' the chief minister said.
'Political leaders have a bigger responsibility. They should follow the rules properly so that no wrong message is conveyed to the public,' Rupani said, and urged the public to support the administration's efforts to contain the viral spread.
Several videos of political leaders flouting COVID-19 safety measures are being circulated on social media.
Recently, one such video came to the notice of the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath, who asked government pleader Manisha Lavkumar Shah to ensure that the rules of social distancing and masks are imposed uniformly on all, including politicians.
In its recent order in a suo motu case on the state government's handling of the pandemic, the division bench of Chief Justice Nath and Justice J B Pardiwala had observed that 'the norms and protocols, as prescribed by the state government, time to time, needs to be scrupulously followed, and this applies even to the political leaders of the state'.
Political leaders of the state are expected to lead their masses and not by themselves flout the norms or the rules and regulations prescribed to combat the pandemic, the court had observed. PTI KA PD ARU ARU