Delhi BJP MP and former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Tuesday criticised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government for the rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital.
Saying that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been lying since the first day when the pandemic broke out, Gambhir told CNN-News18 that all the claims made by the AAP dispensation on health infrastructure in the city have fallen flat.
The East Delhi MP also slammed Kejriwal for opening of liquor shops that he said worsened the pandemic situation, while urging the latter to accept his failings and take help from the BJP-led central government.
While heaping praise on the Left-led Kerala government and Congress-ruled Punjab for their handling of the crisis, Gambhir said Kejriwal only blames the Centre and never takes responsibility.
Edited excerpts from the inteeview:
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said by July 15, the number of cases in Delhi will rise to 2.15 lakh and 33,000 beds will be necessary and by July 31, 80,000 beds will be needed, if the cases continue to rise exponentially. This means Delhi has to be ready to protect the interests of Delhiites. Then why did you tweet welcoming the LG order overruling the Delhi government’s previous order?
Aren't we supposed to have 30,000 beds which were committed by the CM? He has obnoxious numbers every single time and it is either a press conference or they go to court. The Delhi government has been lying from day one. They don't want to take any responsibility, which is very shameful.
Are you saying the period -- the two-month lockdown that was supposed to be for capacity-building -- hasn't been utilised by the Delhi government?
If you ask me, they should have looked after the migrants. Even at that time, the Delhi government said they were catering to one lakh people everyday, but 25 lakh people were leaving Delhi.
Why would they (be leaving) if their needs were being catered to? They (the AAP government) had no funds to cater to these people. They gave everything free before elections. From migrants to PPEs, to increasing tax on diesel and petrol, and 70% tax on liquor… because they were left with no money.
No other government was on their knees as quickly as the Delhi government. They could not even sustain anything for a month because they ended up giving everything for free.
The question could be this is a time where there should be no politics and all public representatives should look at the interests of people. Could you cooperate with AAP at this point? Can the BJP and AAP work together?
I agree with you 100%. The first time when all the seven MPs and the CM had a call, all of them said they were willing to work in any capacity with AAP because this is not about the Congress, BJP and AAP.
If you need help, we are willing to help you in any capacity. I was the first one to offer Rs 1 crore from the MPLAD fund to the Delhi relief fund because I knew the situation in Delhi hospitals will be very alarming. I provided them with numbers of PPE vendors.
We just asked for one thing -- the number of kitchens catering to migrants and they still have not provided that. They are not willing to work with us. I have helped in every capacity I could.
Delhi's positive cases have increased exponentially in the last week....horror stories of people losing their loved ones because beds weren't available are coming up. What can be done?
Come out and speak the truth. They have been lying since day 1. Just come out and say you were not ready to handle this pandemic. The CM starts playing blame games and ultimately he will start blaming the people of Delhi. He says asymptomatic people should not be tested. He has no right to say that. He needs to be honest with the people of Delhi and tell us if he needs support.
People are running from pillar to post to get their loved ones admitted. It is very disturbing. People have taken to Twitter, MPs included. If a place like Delhi is showing signs of a collapsing medical infrastructure, as citizens of India should we be worried about what could be happening in the rural belt?
Absolutely. If you see, four months ago Kejriwal's campaign was on education and health infrastructure, all of which has collapsed. Now we get to know the reality. His promises have collapsed completely. He was in such a hurry to open up everything -- first liquor shops and then we couldn't control the situation.
Look at how Kerala and Punjab are handling the situation. The Punjab government is willing to treat people from Tamil Nadu as well because they know their intentions. The Delhi CM only blames the Centre and never takes responsibility. He has never been in Delhi or has been born and brought up in Delhi. Say the right things, don't give us obnoxious numbers.
So are you of the opinion that Delhi is not ready to open up?
Absolutely not. Opening up liquor shops was the most detrimental thing Kejriwal did for the people of Delhi. He should have seen the pros and cons of it. There were 5-km queues and look at the transmission now. Hotels have no guidelines from the Delhi government. Delhi was not ready to open up but he was in a hurry to open up because he had no money.