AAP government on Saturday accused Lt Governor Najeeb Jung of adopting a casual approach in dealing with the health crisis in the city, a day after he ordered Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to cut short his Finland visit and return immediately in the wake of sudden spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases.
Following Jung’s directive on Friday, Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Water Minister Kapil Mishra went to meet the LG at his office on Saturday to discuss the health crisis but they could not meet him as he was not in his office.
“We have been told that the LG is on leave today. How can he be on leave when Delhi is facing a health crisis. We have come to meet him following his fax to Manish Sisodia asking him to return to Delhi from Finland immediately,” Mishra said, triggering a fresh spat between the two sides.
Jain also referred to Jung’s 10 day-long travel to the US earlier this month when the city was witnessing rising cases of dengue and chikungunya and wondered why he did not cut short his visit “even by one hour”. Jung had returned to Delhi from the US earlier this week.
The LG’s office retorted that it was operational on all seven days of the week and the ministers did not seek prior appointment. The LG’s office accused the AAP government of politicising the issue when the city was grappling with the health crisis.
The ministers after waiting to meet the LG for around 20 minutes said no appointment was sought since Jung had sent an “urgent” fax to the Deputy Chief Minister yesterday and that they thought Jung must have something important to discuss.
“The LG has sent an urgent fax to Deputy CM Sisodia so we thought there may be some emergency and we both came to meet him but he is not in the office.
“We were told that it’s off today and he does not sit in the office. We called him but he is also not at his home. It appears he is not in a mood to work today,” Mishra told reporters.
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Mishra has also written a letter to Jung asking why Sisodia has been asked to cut short his trip to Finland saying the LG could have discussed the health issue with him and Jain.
Notwithstanding LG’s order, Sisodia is coming back to Delhi on Sunday as scheduled. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is recovering at a Banguluru hospital following a throat surgery.
The Health Minister tweeted, “Asked on phone if anything urgent as he faxed ydy to recall DyCm. Ans: nothing urgent to discuss, no time to meet today.”
Hitting back, the LG office said that the Lt Governor came to know of their visit only through media.
“Secretary to the Lt Governor met the Ministers since the Lt Governor’s office is operational on all days of the week. However, they neither submitted any letter nor gave any representation to the Lt Governor,” the LG office said in a statement.
Mishra, however, said that since Delhi is grappling with Dengue and Chikungunya they did not wait for an appointment to meet Jung.
“We thought perhaps Jung Saheb has found some very good idea to fight the diseases that he wanted to share with Sisodia. So we came running to meet him as we are working on Saturday and Sunday also.”
The Lt Governor’s office said that it is “regrettable” that at a time when Delhi is facing such a serious public health crisis, the elected government is choosing to “politicize” the issue instead of providing succour to the public.
“The Lt Governor’s office is keeping a close watch on the health situation in Delhi and is getting regular updates on the situation from the Chief Secretary and Secretary (Health),” the LG office said.
Jain said that he talked to Jung over phone but he was not available for meeting.
“I called on his number but he is not available. When I asked him about his fax to Sisodia, he said he did not want to talk about it,” Jain said.
“Went to LG office. Asked on phone if anything urgent as he faxed yty to recall deputy CM. Ans: nothing urgent to discuss, no time today,” Jain tweeted.
Sisodia, who also hold the education portfolio, is in Finland along with his officers, is in Finland to study the education system of that country.
Refuting the allegation of the Opposition that he is “holidaying” in Finland, Sisodia yesterday said it was not a “sin” to study the schooling system of other countries to fix the problems in Delhi’s education system.