‘Mask is mandatory!’ Venkaiah Naidu interrupts SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav for removing mask during Rajya Sabha address

Rajya Sabha: Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav seeks permission to remove his face mask while speaking.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu wants MPs to strictly adhere to the Covid-19 rules to minimise the threat of spreading the virus that has hit millions across India. Naidu, also the Vice President of India, on Wednesday told MPs that wearing a mask is mandatory even when they speak on the floor of the House.

Naidu’s comment came after Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav sought permission to remove his face mask while speaking. Yadav said that it caused “suffocation”.

To this, Naidu replied, “Wearing a mask and speaking, and wearing a mask and continuously sitting, there is some discomfiture… I personally spoke to Director General of the ICMR, he told me it is better to keep the mask on since this hall is air conditioned… Their initial suggestion was to wear a mask while talking to a person. Now, the advice is to always wear a mask. It may change later.”

Earlier, Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan had removed her mask before her address in the Rajya Sabha. Naidu had then reminded her as well to wear it. But Jaya said that she will not be audible to the colleagues, adding that she will clean the microphone. The Chairman then gave her permission to carry on with her speech.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament is currently underway with strict Covid-19 protocol in place for MPs. Both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are functioning in two different shifts. While Rajya Sabha is sitting in the morning shift (9am to 1pm), the Lok Sabha is working in the evening shift (3pm to 7pm). The Houses are functioning without any break and the premises are santised in the intervening period of the meeting of both houses. The Monsoon Session will culminate on October 1.

Meanwhile, India’s COVID-19 tally of cases galloped past 50 lakh, just 11 days after it crossed 40 lakh with 90,123 cases being reported in a day. The recoveries surged to 39,42,360 on Wednesday pushing the recovery rate to 78.53%, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The total coronavirus cases mounted to 50,20,359, while the death toll climbed to 82,066 with a record 1,290 people succumbing to the disease in the last 24 hours.

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