The government on Saturday decided to curtail the ongoing monsoon session of the Lok Sabha by several days after consulting with the opposition at the Business Advisory Committee meeting due to the rising cases of coronavirus pandemic. The center is concerned for the safety of MPs after three of them who had attended the session tested positive for the virus earlier this week, days after their mandatory test reports turned out negative.
The government held a discussion earlier with the opposition as it had been trying to build a consensus. Many opposition parties were also in favour of winding up the session.
The session in Lok Sabha is likely to wrap up by Wednesday next week. Rajya Sabha, the upper House of parliament, is expected to follow suit.
According to reports, seventeen members of the Lok Sabha and eight from the Rajya Sabha had tested positive for the coronavirus in the mandatory tests carried out before the monsoon session of parliament started. Among the infected Lok Sabha MPs, the BJP had the maximum number — 12. The YSR Congress had two MPs, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP had one each.
Earlier this week, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel – who had tested negative before the session have been tested positive of the virus.
On Friday, BJP's Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe tested positive for the virus. He had addressed the House earlier.
"Last Friday, I had got examined and was tested negative hence attended parliament. But last night, I had a headache and mild fever, got examined and have tested positive for COVID-19," Mr Sahasrabuddhe had tweeted.
The authorities in parliament have taken strict measures to prevent transmission of the coronavirus among the MPs but the government didn't want to take any chances, sources say.