As the chikungunya toll in the national capital region (NCR) climbed to four on Tuesday, the AAP government placed the blame on Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the BJP-run Municipal Corporations of Delhi for allegedly failing to do their job.
“CM (and) minister left with no power now, even to buy a pen. LG and PM enjoy all powers with respect to Del. LG abroad. Question them for Del,” Kejriwal tweeted on Tuesday. While Jung is in the US for a personal trip, Kejriwal is in Bengaluru for treatment.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia is in Finland for an official trip, Labour Minister Gopal Rai in Chhattisgarh for party work and Environment Minister Imran Hussein on Haj. Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who was campaigning in Goa for AAP, rushed back to Delhi on Tuesday afternoon after the spike in the number of deaths was reported.
The BJP, in turn, accused Kejriwal of “abandoning” the people of Delhi and fleeing to Bengaluru. Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said, “Delhi was never a priority for AAP. They always engaged in national politics and when Delhi needs them, they are all out of the capital. Everyone is busy campaigning for elections, abandoning Delhi.”
Water Minister Kapil Mishra attacked Jung for approving the leave of newly appointed health secretary Chandraker Bharti from September 5 to September 16. Jung had appointed Bharti after overruling the appointment of Tarun Seem, appointed by the AAP government. While Jung is expected to return to Delhi on Wednesday, Kejriwal, who is scheduled to undergo a surgery, is expected to be away for 10 days. Sisodia is scheduled to return to the capital on September 18.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister J P Nadda stressed on the need for close coordination between the Centre and states to deal with the outbreak of dengue and chikungunya, which have affected about 40,000 people in the country.
“We will try to fulfil all requirements. Whether it is dengue or chikungunya, we should not panic. We are ready to offer all help to state governments. This is not an issue for the Centre and states to indulge in blame game. We should work together,” Nadda said. A senior Health Ministry official said chikungunya deaths in the capital are being probed by its agencies to ascertain the exact reasons.
According to the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, around 27,879 cases of dengue were reported across the country and 60 people succumbed to the disease till August 31 this year. Around 12,255 cases of chikungunya have been reported across the country.
“The Health Ministry is probing the chikungunya deaths in the capital. Similar cases were reported in 2006. We are investigating them at our level first,” a senior official said. The Health Ministry has issued 11 advisories to the states and held 16 review meetings with them. Of these, five were held at the level of the Health Minister, who issued directions to step up preventive measures.