Political blame game begins over chikungunya deaths in Delhi (Roundup)

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New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) A political blamegame began in the national capital on Tuesday as four deaths were reported due to chikungunya, with the ruling AAP blaming the Lt Governor and the municipal bodies for the rising mosquito-borne menace while the BJP asked for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation.

Kejriwal, who is in Bengaluru, said on Tuesday that he has been left with no power even to “buy a pen” and that people should question the “Prime Minister and Lt Governor” (over the matter).

With three Delhi government ministers, including the Chief Minister and his deputy, outside Delhi, the BJP stepped up its attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government as more deaths due to vector-borne diseases were reported.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked Kejriwal to quit if he is unable to act.

“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 crore on ads,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.

Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain, who was in Goa and returned Delhi on Tuesday afternoon, said the situation in Delhi government hospitals is “much better” than in the hospitals run by the Centre and civic bodies.

“We’re not denying anyone a bed and have made all facilities available to deal with such cases. We have opened 262 fever clinics in Delhi. Please avoid self medication and do not panic,” Jain said in a press conference here.

He said that Delhi government officers were not being allowed to work and were being transfered.

“In such a situation why is the Delhi government being blamed? Ask the LG who himself went to the US. Two MCD Mayors are out of Delhi, ask them why? Their only work is to ensure cleanliness,” Jain asserted.

He accused the BJP-controlled civic bodies of not taking preventive steps to control the spread of vector-borne disease.

“The three municipal corporations are not performing their duties to clean the city and do fogging to prevent chikungunya and dengue spread,” the AAP leader said.

Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is in Finland, targeted Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for the rising vector-borne diseases and questioned his absence from Delhi.

“Where has the LG now gone after appointing incompetent officers in the health department,” Sisodia tweeted.

In the absence of senior ministers, Water Minister Kapil Mishra came out in defence of his government.

He termed the situation in Delhi as a “conspiracy” and said that LG had appointed a health secretary who was “responsible” for delay in the banning of Chinese manjha (kite string) and was infamous for delaying decisions.

“Shockingly, the LG approves 15 days leave for new health secretary just to punish people of Delhi,” Mishra told media.

He demanded to know why no fogging had been done this year by the three wings of the municipal corporation.

“Where is LG the who has proclaimed himself as government, three mayors, seven MPs, 272 councillors now? All are busy protesting,” he had tweeted.

The reference was to a Delhi High Court decision of August 4 which ruled that the Lt Governor would be in-charge of administrative affairs in Delhi and not the elected government.

The Congress took the opportunity to attack the Lt Governor and the AAP government.

“Kejriwal in Bengaluru, Deputy CM in Finland, Hussain (Imran) gone for Haj, Gopal Rai in Chhattisgarh and LG too in foreign… and Delhi is in ICU,” Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken tweeted.

Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters that no fumigation was done this time in the city.

“It is the government’s responsibility to take pre-emptive steps when this season arrives before people get sick,” she said.

Civic bodies have put the figure of dengue, chikungunya and malaria infections at 1,158, 1,057 and 21 respectively till Sep 10.

Delhi has so far witnessed four deaths due to chikungunya and four from dengue.

Three patients died of chikungunya at Ganga Ram Hospital on September 12.

AIIMS has also witnessed six deaths, including one from chikungunya, since September 1, 2016.



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