New Delhi, July 14 : In what could spell trouble for different Parliamentary committee meetings which have resumed after almost four months, all those who attended the Department Related Standing Committee for Public Accounts or PAC meet have been advised to go into quarantine after a staff who was present at the meeting tested positive for Covid-19.
Most members like Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury or DMK’s T.R. Baalu, who attended the meet and went back after meeting several people, have been informed about the official who was present at the PAC meet and later tested positive.
The meeting took place on July 10, while the official tested positive on Tuesday, which essentially means that the 18 MPs who attended the meeting carried on with their normal life for the last few days. The PAC has a total of 20 members, out of which 15 are from the Lok Sabha and 5 from the Rajya Sabha.
Among the 18 MPs who attended the meeting were the committee’s chairperson Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior DMK leader and former Union Minister T.R. Baalu, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekhar, senior BJP leader Bhupender Yadav and Trinamool MP Sukhendu Shekhar Ray, among others.
Now, calls are being made to all those who attended the meeting, asking them to remain quarantined as a matter of precaution.
On Tuesday evening, Rajeev Chandrashekhar tweeted, “Ok, so I came to Delhi. Attended Parliamentary Committee meeting on 10th. Turns out one staff of Committee secretariat has tested COVID positive today. So I am headed to 7 days quarantine.”
With the gradual resumption of different committee meetings, the government is exploring the possibility of convening a short Monsoon Session of the Parliament.
Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have explored all the possibilities, including using a substitute venue like Vigyan Bhawan, to ensure seating with “do gaaz ki doori”, but none were big enough to accommodate the entire Parliament together.
With this incident, many parliamentarians believe that the fate of other parliamentary committees and even the Monsoon Session has now become uncertain.
Earlier, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had complained about thin attendance, arguing for a virtual meeting, which both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have turned down.
Significantly, on Tuesday, two key BJP leaders — MoS Jitendra Singh and party General Secretary Ram Madhav — went into self quarantine after BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief Ravinder Raina tested positive for coronavirus.
Just two days back, Raina had accompanied both the leaders to offer condolences to the family of Wasim Bari, a local BJP leader who was killed along with his father and brother by terrorists in Bandipora town in north Kashmir.