BJP, AAP face off over Delhi's 'inflated' oxygen demands

An interim report by the panel formed by the Supreme Court said that Delhi govt used the wrong formula and made exaggerated claims for oxygen
Last Updated 25 June 2021, 17:22 IST

A report of the Supreme Court-appointed panel claiming the Delhi government inflated medical oxygen demand at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a war of words between the BJP and AAP.

Flashing the report of the Supreme Court-appointed oxygen audit committee, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra claimed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s “politics of shifting the blame from his incompetence” stood exposed, a charge rejected by the AAP.

“You were proving incompetent and a failure. You had to shift blame and for that, you raised a false alarm and spread panic across the country,” Patra said.

“No such report exists. We have spoken to several members of the Committee. They told us that they have not signed or approved any such report,” Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told a virtual press conference.

Patra rejected Sisodia’s charge and shared relevant portions of the affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the Health Ministry placing the reports on record.

“Respected Sisodia ji, please read Para 7 of the below-displayed affidavit which mentions the submission of the “Sub-Committee on Oxygen Audit” Report to the Honourable SC. Manish ji by denying the truth you can’t escape responsibility,” Patra said.

Sisodia claimed that the report that Patra was referring to was drafted in the BJP office and submitted to the Supreme Court. “Show me the signed report of the members of the SC appointed Oxygen Audit Committee,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made an emotional plea saying his only crime was that he fought to ensure that his two crore people get to breathe.

“When you were busy with election rallies, I was awake all night, arranging supplies of oxygen. I fought, I pleaded to get oxygen for the people. People have lost their near and dear ones due to lack of oxygen. Don’t call them liars, they are feeling bad about it,” Kejriwal said.

The committee set up by the Supreme Court said in its interim report that the Delhi government's claim of 1,140 metric tonnes requirement of medical oxygen was four times the calculated consumption as per the formula based on bed capacity, which was 289 MT.

Patra said 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.

“SC oxygen audit team finds Delhi Govt inflated oxygen need by four times during peak & affected supply to 12 high caseload states. Hope accountability is fixed for disrupting oxygen supply across India,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal said.

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 a false alarm and spread panic across the country,” Patra said.

BJP leaders took to Twitter with spokesperson Sambit Patra saying, "Kejriwal was lying all the while..".

Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir tweeted, "If you have any shame left @ArvindKejriwal , hold one of your PCs now & apologise to the nation for inflating oxygen need BY FOUR TIMES during second wave!"

(Published 25 June 2021, 07:24 IST)

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