It’s a bizarre story of all-round abdication which has brought Delhi to its knees during the ongoing public health crisis. Miffed by the Delhi high court order which has given the lieutenant-governor primacy in the affairs of Delhi, the AAP government seems to be pas sing the buck. A government with an overwhelming majority of 67 MLAs is now increasingly asking the people of Delhi to go to the LG on virtually all issues even as the chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and his ministers stay away from the city .Even as the number of deaths from chikungunya in the city reached five -four on Monday alone -the CM responded to a tweet on health minister Satyendar Jain’s absence from the city by tweeting, “CM n min left wid no power now, even to buy a pen.LG n PM enjoy all powers wrt Del. LG abroad. Question them for Del“. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and tourism minister Kapil Mishra, too, attacked the LG. LG Najeeb Jung -who has been proactive in seeking out files to review decisions taken by theAAP government without his approval -too is missing during this time of crisis.He left for the US on September 3 to meet his daughter and will be back on Wednesday .The three BJP-led corpo rations, which are primarily responsible for preventive measures, seem to have been clueless. On Tuesday , they blamed the people of Delhi for not cooperating with their staff. The mayor of north corporation has gone abroad. No one seems to have learnt any lessons from last year’s dengue crisis. And the political confrontation between AAP and BJP has only made matters worse. The people at the receiving end are witnessing the worst sort of blame game with no one willing to take responsibility .The chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and virtually his entire cabinet have been away from the city for varying periods even as the city is in the grip of this health crisis. Some are campaigning for the party in Punjab and Goa while others have been distracted by events elsewhere. So much so, that the only minister present in the capital on Tuesday noon was water and tourism minister Kapil Mishra.Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has left for Finland to attend an education conference (September 13 to 17); health minister Jain landed in the city on Tuesday afternoon after campaigning in Goa since September 9; transport minister Gopal Rai is in Chhattisgarh for a labour conference (September 9 to 20); and Imran Hussain is on Haj (August 27 to September 27). One minister has been sacked over a sex CD.
Kejriwal, after his long absence from the city for a vipassana camp in Himachal, has spent very little time in Delhi, preferring to be in Punjab for campaigning. He even skipped the last assembly session and appeared in the previous one only for a few hours. On Tuesday , he left for Bangalore for a throat surgery which will keep him out of action for some time. And after he returns, he will resume his Punjab campaign.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia was also tweeting about the LG’s role. “If you agree that in Delhi the LG has all the rights, then you should ask him about his duty in such a situation“ he tweeted.“Where has the LG disappeared after making incompetent (nakara) and indolent (aaramtalab) officials head of the health department?“ he asked.
The reference seems to have been to the health secretary, Chandraker Bharti, against whom the AAP government wanted action for allegedly delaying the manjha notification when he handled the environment and forests portfolio. Instead, the LG gave him additional charge of health. And guess what? He too is on leave from September 5 to September 16.
This is a sore point with the AAP government. Ques tioning the LG, Kapil Mishra accused him of hatching a conspiracy against the people of Delhi by removing their preferred candidate, a doctor, as health secretary and then appointing his man, who he promptly sent on leave before disappearing from the city .
The LG’s office let it be known that health is a transferred subject and the LG can’t interfere when the CM or health minister are on the job. It was pointed out that when both were away at the Vatican, the LG had stepped in to impose ESMA during the nurses’ strike.
Without any coordination between the various agencies in the city and with little political will to do so Delhi seems to be doomed to suffer this viral fever season.