Water battle heats up in Delhi; BJP and Congress stage protest, demand Kejriwal's resignation

New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) The BJP and Congress on Monday staged protests alleging poor quality of drinking water in the city even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that 98.5 per cent of the 1.5 lakh samples tested by Jal Board in past nine months have been found safe.

Leading a protest at Turkaman Gate, Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra demanded that Kejriwal step down and a case be registered against him for 'playing with the lives of people'.

Delhi BJP leaders and workers also held protests at 400 places across the city slamming the AAP government.

Responding to the allegations, Kejriwal said that central ministers were scaring people by alleging that Delhi water was 'poisonous'. He said the opposition parties were indulging in 'dirty politics'.

Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday released the second phase of the Bureau of Indian Standardisation (BIS) study which stated that Delhi along with Kolkata and Chennai failed in almost 10 out of 11 quality parameters of drinking water.

In the first phase of its survey, the BIS had found all the 11 samples drawn from Delhi did not comply with the quality norm and the piped water was not safe for drinking purpose.

'After air, the water in Delhi has been polluted. The water supply in Delhi has been found to be worst in a study of 20 cities. Kejriwal should refrain from politics over the issue,' Tiwari said.

With inching of Assembly polls, the Kejriwal government has come under severe attack by the BJP and Congress in Delhi.

Both the parties have been seeking to corner the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over a host of issues, including air quality, water contamination, unauthorised colonies, and condition of health and public transport in the city.

During the Congress protest near a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) pumping station at Turkan Gate, senior party leaders, including election campaign in-charge Kirti Azad, J P Agarwal, Arvinder Singh Lovely and chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma asserted that the party will not spare any efforts to fight for the interests of the people.

Union Health Minister and BJP MP from Chandni Chowk Harsh Vardhan accused Kejriwal of giving 'poison' to people in the name of free water supply, and demanded his resignation.

BJP's Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta in a protest at ITO said that Kejriwal, who is chairman of DJB, has 'failed' to ensure supply of potable water to people.

Kejriwal rubbished the BIS report as 'false and politically motivated'.

'Between January 1 and September 24, Delhi Jal Board collected 1,55,302 samples. Among them, only 2,222 samples or just 1.43 failed, while 1,53,080 samples(98.57) passed,' Kejriwal said in a press conference.

In October, out of 16,502 samples collected by DJB, only 658 (3.98 percent) failed, he said.

The chief minister said his government will collect five samples from each municipal wards in the city for tests in a transparent manner.

He said the media, local people and even Paswan will be invited to take part in the exercise.

Paswan accused Kejriwal of doing politics over the issue and challenged him to name officials from his government and Centre for a team to test water quality in Delhi. PTI VIT DPB