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BJP, AAP engage in war of words over oxygen demand exaggeration report

My only crime is I fought for peoples' lives, says Kejriwal

Our Bureau, PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 25.06.21, 03:16 PM

The BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday exchanged barbs over a Supreme Court panel report that the Delhi government "inflated" its oxygen requirement during the second wave of Covid-19 by four times.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet slammed the BJP and said that his only crime was that he fought for the lives of two crore people when the saffron party was busy campaigning in poll-bound states like Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


"My crime was that I fought for the lives of the two crore people of Delhi. When you were doing election rallies, I was awake all night arranging for oxygen. I fought, pleaded to get people the oxygen they needed. People have lost their loved ones due to a lack of oxygen. Don't call them liars, they will feel bad," Kejriwal said in an attack to the BJP, which accused his government of "heinous crime" and "criminal negligence".

Earlier in the day, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra in a press conference cited the report to note that the Delhi government had demanded 1,140 MT of the life-saving gas during the peak of the second wave even though it could utilise 209 MT.

The requirement was 351 MT even if the panel went by the Delhi government's formula while it was 289 MT according to the central government's estimate, he said, adding that only 209 MT was expended while Kejriwal projected an requirement of 1,140 MT.

"Imagine the amount of criminality. This is a heinous crime by Arvind Kejriwal. This is criminal negligence as the panel says he sought four times more oxygen than required. The report has exposed the politics he did to shift blame from his incompetence and failure to deal with Covid-19," Patra claimed.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, however, accused the BJP of lying about the existence of such a report.

"There is no such report. We have spoken to the members of the Oxygen Audit Committee formed by the Supreme Court. They said they have not signed or approved any such report," he said.

Patra noted that many lives were lost in Delhi due to lack of oxygen and expressed hope that Kejriwal will be held accountable and punished by the Supreme Court.

Due to Kejriwal's lies, he alleged, 12 states were affected as oxygen supply was diverted from them to meet the needs of the national capital.

Patra said many lives could have been saved if the Delhi government had not inflated its needs, and states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana had to suffer.

"You were proving incompetent and a failure. You had to shift blame and for that, you pressed false alarms and spread panic across the country," he said, attacking the Delhi chief minister for targeting the Modi government than for shortage in oxygen supply and meting out "step-motherly" treatment to Delhi.

Patra said Mumbai and Delhi had 92,000 and 95,000 Covid cases respectively on May 3, and while the western city required 275 MT of oxygen, Delhi sought 900 MT.

The Delhi chief minister works with the formula of "100 per cent advertisement and zero per cent Covid management", and spent over Rs 1,000 crore on advertisements, he said, alleging that Kejriwal has been doing similar politics on vaccination and ration programmes in the capital.

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