New Delhi: At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic across the country is raging and health experts have emphasized on the need to wear masks to cut down chances of getting infected, Madhya Pradesh home minister and BJP leader Narottam Mishra was on Wednesday captured on camera saying that he doesn’t wear a face mask in any programme.Also Read - Delhi: Decline In COVID Curve To Continue As Cases Likely To Go Down By Over 4000 On Monday, Says Satyendar Jain

“I don’t wear a mask in any programmes. ‘Isme kya hota hai?’ (so what),” the home minister told reporters when they enquired why he was not wearing a mask at a function. Also Read - Struggling With Stress, Anxiety And Depression? You May be at Risk of Contracting Covid-19: Study

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The Congress launched a pointed attack on the minister, asking are COVID-19 norms meant only for the common people. “Is there anyone who has the courage to take action against him (Mishra). Are rules only for common people?” Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja tweeted.

Following the attack, the minister tempered his remarks, saying he cannot continue to wear a face mask for a long time due to a medical condition.

The Madhya Pradesh leader also later expressed regret over his remarks. “My statement over wearing a mask appears to be a violation of law. It wasn’t in line with sentiment of the PM. I accept my mistake and express regret. I’ll wear mask. I also appeal to everyone to wear mask & observe social distancing,” Narottam Mishra said.

Mishra was in Indore to participate in a programme for distribution of assistance under the state government’s Sambal Yojana, which provides social security cover to the poor and the SC and ST communities.

Indore is among the worst-hit districts in Madhya Pradesh which has reported 20,834 COVID-19 cases and 516 fatalities so far.