SRINAGAR: BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chief Ravinder Raina tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, sparking panic among the party rank and file, forcing the top leaders including Ram Madhav, Dr Jitendera Singh and Avinash Rai Khanna to go into self-quarantine.
Raina has been camping in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district for the past five days in the wake of the killing of local BJP leader Wasim Bari, his father and brother on July 8. On Sunday, Raina accompanied BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, MoS in PMO Dr Jitendera Singh, BJP’s J&K affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna to Bari’s Muslimabad residence in Bandipora.
Raina took to Twitter and wrote: “Hello friends, I was in Kashmir/Bandipora for five days after the killing of BJP leader Wasim Bari, Omar Sultan and his father by the militants. Today I had mild fever. When tested, the report came as Covid-19 positive. No other symptoms.”
Raina’s tweet triggered fear in the entire BJP unit of Kashmir with people voluntarily going for Covid-19 mapping. “I will also go for Covid test as I was with him these days in Bandipora and also in Srinagar,” said BJP spokesman for J&K Altaf Thakur. “For a time being, I have gone into self-quarantine.”
Sources in the BJP said that hundreds of party workers, middle-rung leaders, district presidents, zonal heads met Raina over the past five days in Srinagar and Bandipora district. “There is total chaos all around in BJP’s Kashmir unit,” he said.
A senior party leader and BJP top brass including Ram Madhav, Dr Jitendera Singh and Avinash Rai Khanna have also decided to go for Covid testing as they spent almost an hour with Raina in Bandipora. Khanna said. As a precaution he and all those who were present at a condolence meeting at slain BJP leader. “We have gone into a self-quarantine,” Khanna said.
Meanwhile, the party’s Kashmir unit has appealed to all the workers who came in contact with the BJP chief, to go for Covid testing. A statement issued by the party’s media in-charge Manzoor Bhat said that all the workers who met BJP chief at Bandipora and Srinagar must come forward and conduct Covid tests.
A party source said that many leaders and workers met Raina without any protection, especially face masks and there is every possibility that they may have contracted the virus. “The party chief may become a super spreader for the virus within the BJP’s Kashmir chapter,” he said. -With inputs from KNO.
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