Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said 23 MLAs and ministers are coronavirus positive with just two days to go before the state assembly session.
Three of the 23 MLAs are cabinet ministers. Another minister who had tested positive earlier has recovered.
The chief minister gave the number during a video conference with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had held a virtual meeting with CMs of opposition-ruled states to discuss a range of issues faced by them.
"As of today, two days before the scheduled Punjab Vidhan Sabha session, 23 ministers/MLAs were COVID positive," said the CM according to an official release.
"If this is the state of the legislators and ministers, one can only imagine how grave the situation on the ground is," he said.
Referring to the JEE-NEET exam, the CM said during the virtual meeting the scenario is not conducive to hold it.
Among the 23 MLAs who contracted the infection so far, 13 are from the Congress, six from the Shiromani Akali Dal and three from the Aam Aadmi Party , officials said on Wednesday evening.
Prominent among the 13 ruling party MLAs are Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sunder Sham Arora (all three ministers), Hardial Kamboj, Pargat Singh, Madan Lal Jalalpur and Ajaib Singh Bhatti.
Six Akali legislators infected with contagion are Manpreet Singh Ayali, N K Sharma, Rozy Barkandi, Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal and Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra.
Manjit Singh Bilaspur, Kulwant Singh Pandori and Principal Budh Ram of the AAP also contracted the infection, they said.
Besides, one AAP legislator Nazar Singh Manshahia, who had joined the Congress last year, also tested positive.
Last month, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa was found infected with the infection but now he has recovered.
AAP legislator Aman Arora on Wednesday raised questions over the test report of his party MLA Manjit Singh Bilaspur.
He claimed that Bilaspur told him that the health authorities first informed him that he has tested negative but later he was declared coronavirus positive.
Arora said Bilaspur was part of the AAP MLAs' meeting held on Tuesday to discuss the party's strategy for the upcoming assembly elections.
He asked whether Bilaspur was declared coronavirus positive under a 'conspiracy' by the government in order to ensure other members in the meeting go into mandatory one-week isolation.
Arora said he asked Bilaspur to get himself tested from a private lab for a re-check.
Arora said he also contacted Akali legislator Gurpartap Singh Wadala and gave him the same suggestion.
The session of 117-member Punjab Assembly will be held on August 28.
Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh had made coronavirus negative test report mandatory for legislators and officials to attend the session.