The Uttar Pradesh police lodged an FIR against Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday for allegedly flouting COVID-19 norms while campaigning for a Congress candidate in Noida for the assembly polls, officials said.
The case, lodged under the Epidemic Diseases Act, names 'others' also as accused besides the senior Congress leader from Chhattisgarh, even as Pathak said the development was indicative of “fear” due to the “growing support base” of her party.
"The FIR was lodged against Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and others for violating COVID-19 rules as set by the Election Commission when they were in the Sector 113 police station area today (Sunday),” a police spokesperson said. Indian Penal Code sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (unlawfully or negligently spreading infection of any disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) have also been invoked in the case, the official added.
Pathak, the Congress' Noida candidate, also alleged police failure in controlling crowd during a “popular CM's” visit and said they are not afraid of the FIR. "The fear of the growing support base of the Congress has started reflecting. I and three other people were with the Chhattisgarh CM. Now when a popular chief minister comes, people come to meet him. It is the failure of the police that the crowd was allowed to gather there. The Congress is strongly contesting the elections in Noida. We are not afraid of FIR,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Baghel reached Uttar Pradesh on an “unofficial” tour to campaign for Pathak, who will be taking on the sitting Noida MLA and BJP heavyweight Pankaj Singh in the February 10 polls. “Pathak is fighting the election on issues of inflation, unemployment and for the issues of the youth, women and farmers,” he told reporters.
Baghel said the Congress will have election results that will shock the rivals and his party's manifesto would be implemented in UP the way it is being done in Chhattisgarh.
With inputs from PTI.