BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Sunday said that he has tested positive for COVID-19 with "fairly strong symptoms".
The BJP leader said that he tested positive for COVID-19 while campaigning for the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and urged the Election Commission to extend the precautionary booster dose to candidates and political workers.
"After being in Pilibhit for 3 days, I have tested positive for COVID with fairly strong symptoms. We are now in the middle of a third wave and an election campaign. The Election Commission should extend precautionary doses to candidates and political workers as well," Varun Gandhi tweeted.
Uttar Pradesh and four states - Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa - will go to the polls next month despite a surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Election Commission is relying on enhanced vaccination of both polling personnel and voters to deliver a 'Covid-safe' election in five states amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Saturday said he has asked the chief secretaries of poll-bound states to accelerate vaccination of all citizens above 18 years and ensure precautionary dose for all poll officials who have been designated as frontline workers.
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases with the counting of votes on March 10, the poll panel announced on Saturday.
"We can't say Corona is only because of the elections... We have ensured that most people are vaccinated. The situation is dynamic and we are monitoring it," he replied when concerns were raised over holding elections in the middle of a pandemic.
Chandra said COVID-19 cases were increasing rapidly in Maharashtra and Karnataka where no election has been scheduled.
"There is no need to panic, but there is a need for caution. Polling officials and booths are safe," the chief election commissioner said while urging voters to come out in huge numbers to exercise their franchise.
(With inputs from PTI)
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