While Ayodhya has been giving the final touch for the groundbreaking ceremony of Lord Ram Temple on August 5 by carrying out the fullest preparations for what has claimed as the grand event, the state of Uttar Pradesh has been unfolding shocking developments after the state BJP leaders and ministers have been tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection.
On Sunday, three days ahead of the ceremony, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who has been expected to attend the ceremony, has said that he has tested positive for the Coronavirus, becoming the first Union minister in Modi's cabinet to get contracted to the virus. He has been getting treated at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram, Delhi.
Following Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh BJP leaders had also confirmed to have contracted to the virus. Uttar Pradesh BJP Chief Swatantra Dev Singh has become the latest figure in the state affected by the global pandemic. The BJP leader has taken to Twitter and said that he has tested positive for the virus and he has quarantined himself as per the advice of the doctor. According to the reports, Swatantra Dev Singh is one of the dignitaries expected to attend the ceremony in Ayodhya.
As he has now been tested positive, he is less likely to attend the ceremony. Earlier, state Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh, Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh, Rural Development Minister Rajendra Pratap Singh, Sainik Kalyan Minister Chetan Chauhan, Ayush Minister Dharam Singh Saini, and Youth Development Minister Upendra Tiwari were tested positive for the COVID-19 viral infection.
The state has witnessed unfortunate development after Uttar Pradesh Minister for Technical Education Kamal Rani Varun has died due to the viral infection on Sunday. She was 62 and she had co-morbid conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and hyperthyroidism. She was the only woman cabinet minister in the state and she was tested positive on July 18. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other leaders paid their condolences to the demised minister.
Along with the top leaders, one of the priests and 16 policemen at the Ram Janmabhoomi complex had contracted to the viral infection last week, adding more uncertainty to the ceremony. The priest was identified as the assistant to the Chief priest and all the policemen had stationed in the complex for security purposes. However, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh has said that there is no question of deferring the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Ram temple on August 5.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be laying the foundation stone in Ayodhya around 12.30 pm on August 5 and the ceremony will be attended by 50 important dignitaries including Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Chief Ministers Yogi Adityanath and Nitish Kumar, BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat. As Amit Shah has tested positive for the virus and has been in the hospital, he would less likely be attending the ceremony.
With just two days ahead of the ceremony, BJP National Vice President Uma Bharti has, on Monday, said that she will stay away from the Ayodhya event as the precautionary measure from the viral infection. Uma Bharti has been one of the important leaders of the Ram temple movement and on Monday she said she would visit Ayodhya but avoid the groundbreaking ceremony. By taking to Twitter, she said she is worried about those who are attending the event after Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders tested positive.
In her message that she tweeted in Hindi, Uma Bharti said, 'I have been worried about those attending the event, especially Prime Minister Modi, after learning that Amit Shah and UP BJP leaders tested positive yesterday'. She further stated that she would avoid visiting the venue during the ceremony and she would visit only after everyone had left.
On Sunday, BJP ruling Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit had tested positive for the global pandemic. While Yediyurappa has been getting treated at Manipal hospital in Bengaluru, Governor Purohit has been under home-isolation. On Monday, Tamil Nadu Congress MP Karti Chidambaram has said that he has tested positive for the virus.