Delhi Unwell, Health Minister Away, Kejriwal Says ‘Ask PM’


New Delhi: As Delhi reels from an outbreak of chikungunya, dengue and other viral diseases, Health Minister Satyendra Jain is on a visit to Goa to oversee the Aam Aadmi Party’s preparations for next year’s assembly elections.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who too is away for throat surgery in Bengaluru, has shrugged off all responsibility as he sought to deflect criticism over Mr Jain’s absence by pointing out that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung is not in the capital either. Mr Jung is in the US.

AAP has also blamed the BJP-dominated Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD, with Law minister Kapil Mishra asking where Delhi’s “mayor has disappeared”.

“The MCD is responsible for fogging to keep mosquitoes away,” said Mr Mishra, also stating that Sayendra Jain will be back in the capital today and that he has been getting constant updates on the Delhi situation.

Mr Kejriwal too had drawn much criticism last week for choosing to skip a one-day session of the Delhi assembly that he had called to clear urgent business. He went to Punjab instead to supervise election work there.

The opposition BJP had asked in the house why Mr Kejriwal was “missing,” leading to a spirited defence of the absent chief minister by today’s missing minister Satyendra Jain, who had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his foreign tours.

While AAP’s ministers defend each other and justify their absence from Delhi for election-related tours, the capital is in the grip of a health crisis, with hundreds of new cases of mosquito-borne diseases being reported every day.

Three people died of chikangunya yesterday, the first deaths from that disease in the capital. At least 10 people have died of dengue and malaria and hospitals overflowing with sick people.

Over a 1,000 chikangunya cases have been reported in the capital so far, 1,100 dengue cases and 21 cases of malaria.

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