Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari came under attack for allegedly violating social distancing and government guidelines for coronavirus lockdown after he was seen playing a game of cricket at an academy in Sheikhpura of Sonipat district on Monday.
Tiwari was also seen singing and interacting with a group of people without wearing a mask during the event in Sonipat.
The BJP leader, however, denied violating any lockdown guidelines.
“I was wearing a mask, I have not violated any norm or rule. Now, permission has been granted to play in the stadium without any audience, a few people are misleading this. I have been obeying social distancing norms amid the lockdown and I can never commit this mistake. This is incorrect reporting of the event,” said Tiwari.
Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh attacked Tiwari, saying it was “utterly insensitive act” on the part of the Delhi BJP president, also an MP, to visit another state to play cricket by “violating” COVID-19 lockdown norms.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) May 25, 2020
“The BJP-ruled Khattar government in Haryana is stopping (from visiting Delhi) doctors and nurses of Delhi who live in the state. The BJP government has closed all roads connecting Delhi and Haryana. But it did not stop Tiwari who went there to play cricket,” Singh charged.
He also said that the incident showed “insensitivity” of Tiwari who chose to play cricket at a time when a large number of migrant workers in the country were passing through a humanitarian crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
Tiwari, however, attacked the AAP, alleging a “water tanker mafia” was being run in the city, and AAP leaders wanted to divert the attention from the arrest of MLA Prakash Jarwal in connection with suicide by a doctor.
“The AAP is highlighting me playing cricket because they want to evade questions over the arrest of Jarwal and loot by the tanker mafia,” he charged.
Delhi BJP’s media relations head Neelkant Bakshi said that Manoj Tiwari visited Gannaur with prior permission and with his Y+ security.
“He played cricket on the request of the private stadium owners in absence of any spectators,” Bakshi said.
The Delhi BJP president has been on the ground since the lockdown was declared to help and feed the needy people that AAP leaders “failed” to do, he claimed.
Neighbouring Uttar Pradesh has also sealed its borders with Delhi to contain the spread of coronavirus.
(With inputs from agencies.)