Pune: Days after doing election duty for the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly bypoll of April 17, a 52- year-old teacher succumbed to coronavirus infection in Maharashtra’s Solapur district. The pandemic also claimed the lives of his parents and an aunt, leaving the family devastated in the space of just four days.
Pramod Mane, a resident of Gherdi village in Solapur’s Sangola tehsil, was assigned duty during the byelection.Before that he was part of teams tracing contacts of COVID-19 patients in the area.
“He was on COVID-19-related duty for the last several days. So it is difficult to say if he contracted the infection because of election duty….we can not establish how he got infected,” said Dr Pravin Mane, his brother. What is certain is that the family members — wife, son, parents and aunt — caught infection because of him, Dr Mane said.
“When he returned home, I was with him in our village.On the same day he complained of shivering and fever and tested positive on April 24,” Pravin said.
He was first admitted to a hospital in Sangola and later in Mumbai. “I also shifted all others in the family (who had got infected) to a hospital in Mumbai by sending cardiac ambulance over three to four days. But despite best possible treatment, my brother succumbed on May 4. Next day our aunt passed away, on May 6 and 7 father and mother died,” Pravin said.
He was arranging the last rites and also running from pillar to post to get plasma and medication for otherfamily members, Pravin recalled. Pramod suffered from diabetes and could have refused to do election duty citing the condition, Pravin added.
Incidentally, Bharat Bhalke, the NCP MLA whose death necessitated the byelection, had died due to COVID-19 complications in November last year. Gajanan Gurav, returning officer for the by-poll, said another person, a peon-rank employee, who too was on election duty, died due to COVID-19 on April 30.
The administration has sent proposals for giving compensation to their families to the Election Commission, he said.
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