While the capital was reeling under a massive outbreak of Chikungunya and dengue last week, several leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP were missing in action.
While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was hospitalised for a tongue surgery, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was in Finland on an “educational” tour and was missing in action. Health Minister Satyendra Jain, who is directly responsible for the Department of Health in Delhi, was campaigning in Goa, and was forced to return to Delhi, cutting short his visit there.
A number of Delhi BJP leaders, including North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar, were also out of Delhi during the same time. Nayyar told The Sunday Guardian that he was in Hague attending the Global Parliament of Mayors and from there, he had proceeded to Vienna. “I had gone to Vienna to see a waste management project and returned early this week. We are working to implement the project in Delhi soon,” Nayyar said. However, Satish Upadhyay, Delhi BJP president, had earlier said that Nayyar would be asked to explain his prolonged absence from the city as it “does not send out the right message” when the city is reeling under a crisis. Incidentally, North Delhi has been among the worst affected areas in terms of dengue and chikungunya outbreak.
Manoj Tiwari, North East Delhi MP, was also out of the city on a five-day visit to Singapore to perform at a musical concert to celebrate the legends of Bollywood. Vijendra Gupta, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, was on a foreign tour with his family during the same time.
Rajni Abbi, vice president of Delhi BJP, said, “He (Sanjeev Nayyar) did not go on a fun trip, and just because the mayor is not there does not mean that work is not being done. All the counsellors, the standing committee chairman, the Leader of the House are here.”
“Blaming the AAP or the BJP should be logical. In case of AAP, the CM, the Deputy CM, their Health Minister, everybody was out of town and they did not leave the work in responsible hands. If they had made preparations and left, there would have been no problems. Every responsible minister leaving the city all at the same time is not right,” Abbi added.
Vijendra Gupta said, “I was out on personal reasons. The Deputy CM should have called an emergency Cabinet meeting to take stock of the situation while the CM was in hospital.”
There was no response to phone calls and messages to Manoj Tiwari for his reaction to this report.
AAP leader Somanth Bharti said: “Be it the BJP or Congress, both have failed to build systems to respond to such situations.” “This is not the time to indulge in a blame game. We will do our analysis, but let us now fight it together,” Bharti added.