17 MPs test positive for COVID-19 as monsoon session begins in Parliament
Among the infected MPs, 12 are from BJP, two from YSR Congress and one each from Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP
Seventeen members of Lok Sabha, including Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde and Parvesh Sahib Singh, tested positive for COVID-19 in the mandatory tests carried out ahead of the monsoon session of the Parliament that began on Monday.
Among the infected MPs, 12 are from BJP, two from YSR Congress and one each from Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP.
Others who have been detected COVID-19 positive include Pratap Rao Jadav, Janardan Singh, Sukhbir Singh, Hanuman Beniwal, Sukanata Majumdar, Goddeti Madhavi, Bidyut Baran, Pradan Baruah, N. Reddeppa, Selvam G, Pratap Rao Patil, Ram Shankar Katheria, Satya Pal Singh and Rodmal Nagar.
The Lok Sabha members were tested at the Parliament House on September 13 and 14-- a during a mandatory test for those attending this year's Monsoon Session which will end on October 1.
BJP MP Sukanta Majumdar in a tweet on Sunday morning declared he had tested Covid-19 positive.
"I am doing well and taking doctors' advice. Requesting all those who have come in close contact with me in the last few days to monitor their health and get tested in case of any symptoms," Majumdar tweeted.
Earlier, seven Union ministers and around 25 MPs and MLAs have tested positive.
For the first time in history, lawmakers participating in Lok Sabha proceedings were allowed to speak while sitting on their seats. The initiative was adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The Monsoon Session will continue till October 1.
Allowing parliamentarians to speak from their seats by sitting, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said: "All lawmakers in this Monsoon Session will first speak from their seats without standing. The initiative was taken in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic."
Earlier, all MPs used to stand before speaking in Parliament. It is a symbol to show respect to the chair.
Meanwhile, Speaker Om Birla informed that this is also the first time in the history when several Lok Sabha members will sit in the Rajya Sabha during proceedings of the lower House and Rajya Sabha members will get chance to sit in Lok Sabha during sitting of the Upper House due to extraordinary situations amid Covid-19 crisis.
Welcoming the special Monsoon Session, Birla expressed happiness over maximum presence of parliamentarians on day one of the Session. He said that all safety protocols have been ensured and maximum digitalisation.
He also requested the lawmakers to speak briefly mentioning that the House proceedings will be held only for four hours every day.
The Speaker sought support of all lawmakers in giving message to the country during the extraordinary situation created by the coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic which so far has infected 48,46,427 people across the country with 92,071 cases including 1,136 deaths in the last 24 hours.
A mobile app has been introduced to register the attendance of the members and seats in the house have been separated with poly-carbon sheets.
(With inputs from agency)
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