You are here: Home » Politics » News » National
Business Standard

PM Modi pulls up CM Kejriwal for televising meeting on Covid situation

During the meeting, Kejriwal warned that a dire tragedy could be on the cards as major hospitals face oxygen shortage

Narendra Modi | Arvind Kejriwal | Delhi government

Aditi Phadnis  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister on Friday expressed his displeasure over Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to telecast his comments live during a meeting the PM was holding with 10 CMs on the pandemic situation.

“This is strictly against our tradition, our protocol... that some Chief Minister is showing a live telecast of an in-house meeting… This is not ap­propriate. One should alw­ays maintain restraint,” Modi said.

During the meeting, Kejriwal warned that a dire tragedy could be on the cards as major hospitals face shortage. The CM also objected to different rates being charged to state governments and the Centre for Covid-19 vaccines, saying a “one nation, one rate” policy should be enforced.

Kejriwal’s slip-up, which he explained later but stopped short of apologising for, led to outrage by the Bharatiya Janata Party which charged him with trying to politicise a humanitarian crisis.

Later, the Aam Aadmi Party clarified that it had no intention of making the CM’s statement at what was essentially a closed-doors meeting, public. In the video which was released ‘by mistake’, Kejriwal can be heard saying: “People are in major pain due to shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi… We need a plan to deal with the crisis. The Centre should take over all oxygen plants through the Army and every tanker coming out of the oxygen plant should be accompanied by an Army escort vehicle.”

Amid the rising political heat in the capital, with patients being turned away from hospitals because of lack of oxygen and ventilator, the CM was trying to tell voters the shortages were not his government’s fault but a result of the Centre’s uncaring attitude to the restrictions states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana had put on the movement of oxygen trucks to Delhi.

This was just one instance of the way state governments have been attempting to shift blame for the management of the public health emergency on other forces — including the Centre.

At the other end of the spectrum, Odisha CM Nav­een Patnaik publicly said the government of Odisha would do everything to cooperate with the Centre in supplying oxygen to the rest of India.

“It is a war-like situation and Odisha will extend all cooperation in the fight aga­inst Covid-19 at the level including ramping up oxygen production to assist other states in this emergency situation,” Patnaik told the PM.

Odisha has around 70 industries, many of which produce industrial oxygen. Rourkela Steel Plant, Jindal Steel and Power at Angul and IFFCO in Paradeep are prominent among them.

Both Kejriwal and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray have thanked Patnaik profusely. There is hardly any doubt that Odisha’s gesture will be used by the Biju Janata Dal for political purposes — also to gain leverage with the Centre — in the future.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sat, April 24 2021. 00:18 IST