Facing criticism for touring other states when Delhi is reeling under Chikungunya, chief minister Arvind Keriwal tried to skip responsibility by blaming Centre for snatching power from the Delhi government. Kejriwal sought to pass the buck, saying the Delhi government was “incapable of even buying a pen” as he and his Cabinet colleagues stand “fully stripped of powers.”
Kejriwal, who is in Bengaluru, said Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be “questioned” over the issue as powers rested with them. “CM n min left wid no power now, even to buy a pen. LG n PM enjoy all powers wrt Del. LG abroad. Question them for Del, (sic)” Kejriwal tweeted.
At least five persons have died due to chikungunya in the city, but the entire Delhi Cabinet is virtually missing from action as ministers including Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain are out of station.
While the Chief Minister is scheduled to undergo a throat operation in Bengaluru today, his deputy Sisodia is in Finland to study its education system. Jain, who holds the Health portfolio, is touring poll-bound Goa, Rai is in Chhattisgarh and Hussain is on Haj pilgrimage.
Jain too tried to put the onus on the civic body of Delhi. “Two MCD Mayors are out of Delhi, ask them why? Their only work is to ensure cleanliness. There are only 40% beds under Delhi Govt. We’re not denying anyone bed and have made all facilities available to deal with such cases,” said Jain.
He accused L-G Jung of “terrorising officials” and allegedly telling them not to report for work. “The LG is terrorising officials. Telling them not to work. My health secy transferred without consulting me,” said Jain.
Claiming that health officials don’t report to him anymore, Jain alleged that Delhi today is “LG bharose ya Modi bharose“. The health minister also accused Municipal Corporation of Delhi of failing to prevent the vector borne disease. “MCDs haven’t done anything to prevent vector borne diseases. They didn’t clean, let water stand,” said Jain.
“Sir if you don’t have the capacity to buy a pen, as you are suggesting, why don’t you resign? If you say that you have no role as the Chief Minister of Delhi, how come the Chief Minister and other ministers’ offices spent Rs one crore on snacks and Rs 526 core on ads,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.
He questioned the expenditure on AAP ministers’ foreign trips and questioned why ministers were out of the state when people needed them the most.
“You cannot run away, and for God’s sake you have to mind your language when people ask questions. Please don’t get frustrated and answer them in a democratic manner rather than calling them dalal or agent,” Patra said.
Former Delhi chief minister and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit too weighed in on the issue, saying it was the government’s responsibility to preempt the disease outbreak by taking preventive steps.
“It is the government’s responsibility to take preemptive steps when this season arrives, before people get sick,” she told ANI adding that there was no fumigation in the city this time.