A Karnataka BJP MLA was seen celebrating his birthday on Friday with hundreds of supporters in brazen defiance of the ongoing nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
M Jayaram, the legislator from Turuvekere in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district, cut a large chocolate cake wearing white gloves and passed it around to people including children.
The guests, who were seen in photographs and video tightly packed with little regard for the deadly pandemic, were served biryani in Gubbi town, around 90 km from Bengaluru.
Mr Jayaram is not the first politician in the state seen flouting the rules with impunity amid the ongoing crisis that has claimed over 200 lives and affected 6,000 across the country.
Last month, days after banning all social gatherings including weddings, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa attended the marriage ceremony of a BJP leader at Belgavi on March 15.
The very next day, hundreds of Congress workers defied the social distancing guidelines to honour the newly-appointed state party president D K Shivakumar.
While the MLA was celebrating his birthday on Friday, the number of coronavirus infections in Karnataka crossed 200, with 10 new cases confirmed in the state.
Of the 207 COVID-19 cases as of 5 pm on Saturday, six people have died and 34 have been discharged, the Health department said in a statement.
Among the 10 new cases, two are children – an 8-year-old boy from Mysuru and an 11-year-old girl from Bengaluru Rural.
The state’s BJP government is in favour of extending the ongoing three-week lockdown that expires on April 14 to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Yediyurappa has said a final decision will be taken after consulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.