Mumbai: Maharashtra BJP spokesman Avdhut Wagh has sought to link state minister Jayant Patils criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over lockdown announcement to 25 people contracting coronavirus in his assembly constituency in Sangli district.
Wagh made the bizarre statement on Sunday and said Patil has been "punished" for his criticism of Modi.
Patil, an NCP leader who is the water resources minister, hails from Sangli in western Maharashtra.
As many as 25 members of a big family from Islampur tehsil in Sangli district have been found to be infected with COVID-19. Islampur is Patil's assembly constituency.
Waghs comment came as part of his rebuttal to Patil, who five days ago, had criticised Modi for the way he last week announced the 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Patil, a former state finance minister, had equated Modis announcement of lockdown with the 2016 demonetisation decision which had caught everyone unawares and caused hardship to people.
Patil, in a series of tweets, had said instead of announcing the lockdown at 8 pm on March 24, the Prime Minister should have given enough time to migrant labourers to make necessary arrangements to face the shutdown impact.
However, the BJP spokesperson termed Patil's criticism of Modi as unwarranted.
Wagh said, What happened in Islampur is unfortunate. But mantriji (a reference to Patil) should remember that if he criticises Modiji unnecessarily he will get punished.
Living in a congested set up led to the spread of the coronavirus in so many members of the Islampur-based family, officials have said.
"These 25 patients from Islampur tehsil belong to a big family living in a congested housing set up and because of that, they got infected," Collector Abhijeet Chaudhari told PTI on Sunday.
Initially, four family members who returned from Saudi Arabia, tested positive for coronavirus on March 23. Within a week, 21 more family members, including a two-year-old boy, were found to have contracted the infection.