The video shows Roja wearing a mask and gloves, walking into the village as residents are lined up on either side, showering flower petals on her feet.

Video YSRCP MLA Roja walks down road as villagers shower flower petals triggers row
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 16:40

YSRCP MLA RK Roja triggered a row on Tuesday after a video surfaced of the legislator in Nagari, Chittoor district, walking down a village road even as residents showered flower petals on her feet.

The video shows MLA Roja, wearing a mask and gloves, sashaying down the road as men, women and children, lined up on either side of the road during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, bend down and throw flower petals at her feet. The act, reminiscent of feudal behaviour, has received condemnation even as Andhra Pradesh battles the coronavirus.

Did the MLA, a former actor, think that the residents of the village were extras in a movie?

The ruling party legislator is not seen stopping the locals from showering the flower petals or advising them to return home as per the government’s social distancing protocols. Instead, she thanks the residents for showering flower petals at her feet.

She was later garlanded, before she inaugurated a borewell. The MLA is seen patiently posing for photographs.

The incident is said to have taken place when Roja visited a village in her constituency to inaugurate a new borewell and distribute groceries to residents. However, further details are unclear.

While some of her supporters claimed that it was done voluntarily by the residents, many pointed out that it looked staged. The MLA is the Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and is considered a close aide to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. 

Many took to social media to ask if this was a responsible act, especially given that a lockdown is in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking a dig at Roja, the Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) official handle tweeted, "The warnings issued by experts on coronavirus is for normal people but not for us. Why should we listen to them? We are great intellectuals. Beyond that, we are YSRCP leaders. Coronavirus can't do anything to us — This is the attitude of YSRCP MLAs doing whatever  they want. Do what you want Roja, but why are you putting the health of others at risk?"

As of Tuesday morning, there have been 757 cases of COVID-19 reported in Andhra Pradesh, of which 639 are active. Chittoor district alone has 53 cases, of which four people have been discharged.

The latest medical bulletin said that a total of 5,022 samples were tested from 9 am on Monday to 9 am on Tuesday, of which 4,987 returned negative. 

Read: New cases indicate possibility of community transmission in Andhra: Health Minister

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