Delhi oxygen row: BJP stages dharna at Jantar Mantar demanding CM Kejriwal's resignation

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New Delhi, Jun 28 (PTI) Delhi BJP leaders sat on a dharna at Jantar Mantar on Monday demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the allegation that his government 'inflated' the requirement of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19 infection.

Leading the protest in which MPs, MLAs and office-bearers of the party took part, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said Kejriwal should be arrested for 'criminal negligence'.

'The interim report of a Supreme Court constituted sub-committee has said the Kejriwal government made a four-time higher demand for oxygen than actual consumption which caused a shortage in other states and led to the death of Covid patients. Kejriwal himself is responsible for this and should step down from his post,' he said.

The Delhi BJP chief said the party will continue with the agitation till a case of criminal conspiracy is registered against the Delhi chief minister.

The BJP's New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that Kejriwal raised a 'false' oxygen shortage issue 'to hide the failures of his government in tackling the second wave of COVID-19'.

The BJP has charged the Delhi government with 'criminal negligence' after the interim report came into the public domain on Friday, while AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the 'bogus' report was 'cooked up' at BJP's office.

The BJP's Northeast Delhi MP and its former Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari alleged that Kejriwal was busy 'aggravating' the pandemic situation rather than trying to solve it. 'The chief minister and his colleagues were trying to create panic and confusion by pretending that there was a shortage of oxygen and this led to the loss of lives,' he alleged.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the 'irony' was that the healthcare system of the Delhi government that Kejriwal and his ministers claimed to be the best in the world, 'crumbled' following shortage of medicines and oxygen.

The protest was also attended by several party MLAs including OP Sharma, Vijender Gupta and Ajay Mahawar and many office bearers of the Delhi BJP.

The report of the Supreme Court constituted sub-group to audit oxygen consumption in hospitals in the national capital during the second wave in April-May said the Delhi government 'exaggerated' the consumption of oxygen and made a claim of 1,140 MT, four times higher than the formula for bed capacity requirement of 289 MT.

The panel said the Delhi government had made the claims for allocation of 700 MT oxygen on April 30 of medical grade oxygen using a 'wrong formula'.

However, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said on Saturday the report, submitted by the Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by him, is an interim one and not the final word.

Two members, B S Bhalla, the Delhi government's principal home secretary, home, and Max Healthcare's Clinical Director Sandeep Budhiraja, have questioned the conclusions. PTI VIT NSD NSD

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