Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not to call residents of the national capital “liars”, and said that when the party was busy with election campaigns, he was fighting to arrange oxygen for the people.
His remarks were in response to a political battle over an interim report by a Supreme Court (SC)-appointed panel to look into Delhi’s oxygen crisis in April-May. The report said Delhi’s administrations and hospitals exaggerated the demand for medical oxygen, which the BJP drew on to attack the CM.
Kejriwal on Friday tweeted, “My fault was that I fought for 2 crore (20 million) Delhi residents. When you [BJP leaders] were busy with election campaigns, I was awake all night arranging medical oxygen. I fought, I begged to ensure oxygen for people of Delhi. People have lost their dear ones due to oxygen shortage. At least don’t call them liars, they will feel terrible about it.”
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Friday also accused the BJP of misleading people and said that the purported findings did not exist as a legitimate, endorsed report of SC-appointed committee to audit the medical oxygen demand during the Covid-19 surge.
“It is unbelievable to see that Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi government politicised oxygen supply when Covid was at its peak. This is such petty politics. The data presented by Oxygen Audit Committee in the report is shocking,” BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said in a press conference on Friday.
“How can someone politicise oxygen? How can someone play with life like this? This is criminal negligence. This is a conspiracy,” Patra said.
He accused chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of creating a “false alarm and spreading panic across the country”. Patra blamed Kejriwal and his government for the lives lost in Delhi due to the oxygen shortage. “He should feel guilty of ruining lives.” Patra said Kejriwal will be held accountable and punished for “his criminal negligence and conspiracy”.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said, “It is now clear that the government exaggerated the demand for oxygen in the city. It was a conspiracy and done to create panic among people during the peak of the second wave. The Delhi government did nothing to augment the oxygen supply. It didn’t get tankers on time and install oxygen plants approved by the Centre. It just blamed the Centre for everything.”
However, deputy chief minister Sisodia said that the BJP’s statements were ‘misleading’.