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BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj put under 14-day quarantine; BJP threatens agitation if not freed immediately

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Giridih (Jharkhand), Aug 29: BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj was forcibly home quarantined here Saturday for 14-day for violating COVID norms, prompting the saffron party to hit out at Hemant Soren government for adopting "double standards" in implementation of the rules and threatening to launch a statewide agitation if the leader was not freed immediately.

Sakshi Maharaj

The MP from Uttar Pradesh had come to Giridih, over 200 km from Ranchi, to take part in a programme from Unnao via Dhanbad. Maharaj, who was returning to Dhanbad by road to take a train to Delhi, was intercepted by the district administration near Pirtand police station and sent to quarantine at Shanti Bhawan ashram, where he had gone to take part in a programme, Deputy Commissioner Rahul Kumar Sinha said.

The action has been taken in accordance with a state government order of 14 days quarantine for people coming to the state from outside, the DC said. "He had not informed the state government about his visit and therefore we have put him in isolation for 14 days," Sinha said.

The DC, however, said if he wanted he can apply for exemption. Maharaj slammed the adminstration for "forcibly" sending him in isolation, saying "I am Member of Parliament and Jharkhand is a part of India. Can't I meet my ailing mother? "I have to take part in a meeting of the standing committee of Parliament on Sunday and I have been forcibly quarantined here...its really disgusting," he told reporters.

The state BJP came in his support and made a scathing attack at the coalition ministry over the incident, saying "Hemant Soren government is adopting double standards in implementation of COVID norms...there is incongruency in taking action against VIP and a comman man and also between politicians of the ruling and opposition parties."

Jharkhand BJP president Deepak Prakash threatnedd to launch a statewide agitation if Maharaj was not released from coercive isolation immediately. He alleged that while he and senior party leader Babulal Marandi were sent to 14 days self isolation on return to Ranchi from Delhi recently, whereas Congress co-incharge visited the state capital from the national capital and held organisational meeting and participated in other programmes, but no such action was initiated against him.

Earlier, after getting information about visit and return of the Uttar Pradesh politician without advance information, the administration sealed borders of the district and put barricades. A team headed by Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Prerna Dixit which was following him stopped the MP at a barricade under Pirtand police station and sent him on 14 days isolation at Shanti Bhawan, the DC said. Maharaj told reporters at the spot he was intercepted that he had come to see his ailing mother in Giridih after giving prior information. He, however, said had he been told about the mandatory 14-day quarantine condition for visiting Jharkhand, he would not have come.

The BJP MP talked to Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary from the place he was intercepted in the presence of media and also put the DC over phone to the chief secretary. But, it did not help him and he was taken by the police to Shanti Bhawan for placing him under home quarantine. The MP said, RJD chief Lalu Prasad's son Tej Pratap Yadav had on Wednesday visited Ranchi to meet his father in RIMS and returned to Patna by road, but the administration did not take any similar action.

"This appears to be inspired by political jealousy," the UP BJP leader alleged. Jharkhand has a coalition government of JMM, Congress and the RJD headed by Hemant Soren. "The entire members of the state cabinet were told to go in quarantine after a minister had tested positive, but the ministers were seen moving freely and participating in programmes," Prakash, Rajya Sabha, MP, said in a statement in Ranchi.

"What kind of rule is this under which Congress ministers and party workers sit on dharna in front of the Raj Bhawan and the administration remain a mute spectator. "Lalu Prasad's son visits Ranchi to meet his father and his supporters indulge in mischievous activities but the administration looks the other way," he said.

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