Arvind Kejriwal expresses “Regret” over Televised conversation with PM Modi

PM Modi’s discussion with Arvind Kejriwal – which went live on TV for some time – stirred controversy as the Delhi CM reflected on the national capital’s crippling oxygen crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, chaired a high-level meeting on the Covid-19 situation with chief ministers of 11 states and union territories which have reported the maximum number of cases recently.

The recent development comes after several states in India have flagged concerns over the unprecedented spike in the novel coronavirus cases. Today, India touched a new record of 3.32 lakh cases and 2,263 deaths in 24 hours.

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PM Modi’s discussion with Arvind Kejriwal – which went live on TV for some time – stirred controversy as the Delhi CM reflected on the national capital’s crippling oxygen crisis. In a rather shocking turn of events, the central government later accused him of using the platform to ‘play politics’ and ‘spread lies’.

Delhi has witnessed an unprecedented spike in the Covid-19 cases which has ultimately resulted in an increased demand for oxygen and other medical supplies in the city. The union territory’s situation has been concerning and the Delhi government has been trying its best to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the national capital.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal – through his Twitter handle – repeatedly highlighted the national capital’s condition in regards to the current Covid-19 situation and had appealed to the centre to provide more medical supplies for the state.

As PM Modi objected to an ‘in-house meeting’ being telecast live, Mr Kejriwal expressed ‘regret’.

Arvind Kejriwal said a ‘big tragedy’ could happen because of the oxygen shortage in Delhi hospitals and told the Prime Minister: “Please sir, we need your guidance.”

He also highlighted that the oxygen tankers were being stopped from entering the city.

“People in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all Chief Ministers to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” Mr Kejriwal said in a meeting held on Friday.

“Will people of Delhi not get oxygen if there is no oxygen-producing plant here? Please suggest whom should I speak to in the central government when an oxygen tanker meant for Delhi is stopped in another state,” he said.

Requesting the PM to facilitate the airlift of oxygen from West Bengal and Odisha to resolve the shortage in Delhi, Mr Kejriwal said, “PM Sir, please, do make a phone call to the Chief Minister of the state where maximum trucks (tankers carrying oxygen) are being stopped so oxygen can reach Delhi.”

Furthermore, the Chief Minister called for a national policy to tackle the crisis.

The interaction was not meant to be televised and Mr Kejriwal was accused of “descending to a new low”, Government sources said.

The sources maintained, “For the first time, private conversations of PM’s meeting with Chief Ministers is being televised. His entire speech was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evading responsibility.”

According to a recent NDTV report, Mr Kejriwal raised the point of airlifting oxygen but “did not know” it is already being done.

The centre, they said, had done more to provide beds and oxygen than the Delhi government, said the source quoted by NDTV.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday held the hearing of an urgent application over the shortage of oxygen supply and directed the central government to supply medical oxygen to six hospitals in the national capital at the earliest using any means necessary.

“He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that the centre does not keep even one vaccine dose and shares with states only,” the top sources reportedly said.

“All Chief Ministers spoke about what they are doing to improve the situation. However, Kejriwal had nothing to speak on what he is doing.”

Furthermore, the Delhi Chief Minister was also accused of ‘yawning and laughing’ during a previous meeting on Covid with PM Modi.

The Chief Minister’s office issued a statement about the telecast and said, “Today, the chief minister’s address was shared live because there has never been any instruction, written or verbal, from the central government that the said interaction could not be shared live. There have been multiple occasions of similar interactions where matters of public importance which had no confidential information were shared live. However, if any inconvenience was caused we highly regret that.”

Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Thursday, issued new directives regarding the supply and allocation of oxygen across Delhi and appointed two senior bureaucrats as nodal officers to ensure smooth movement of tankers and facilitate oxygen supply to city hospitals.