The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday exchanged fresh salvo in the row over the alleged deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of Covid-19. After the AAP took a dig at the Centre for saying there were “no deaths due to lack of oxygen”, the BJP hit back saying the opposition parties were playing petty politics over the issue.
Clarifying Centre’s ‘no deaths due to oxygen shortage’ statement, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that health is a state subject and there was no data provided by states on deaths due to lack of medical oxygen. He slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly spreading lies and creating panic among people. He said that the AAP government has already admitted in court that there were no deaths due to oxygen shortage in the national capital.
Patra also attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for behaving like a ‘Twitter troll’ while the country was fighting against a pandemic.
Reacting to Patra’s comments, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that abusing Kejriwal and the AAP will not absolve the Centre of its “crimes”. He said that there was an oxygen shortage across the country during the second wave of coronavirus and it was a direct result of the Centre’s actions.
Earlier, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain took a jibe at the central government over the ”no deaths due to lack of oxygen” claim. ”They (Centre) will soon say there was no COVID-19. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, then why were hospitals going to High Court for shortages? This is completely false,” he told the media.
The Centre on Tuesday informed Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second wave.
AAP, Congress and other opposition parties have attacked the government over its statement. Taking a swipe at the dispensation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said there is an “acute shortage of sensitivity and truth” in the government. “There was not just a shortage of oxygen. There was an acute shortage of sensitivity and truth then, it was there then and is there now too,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress MP KC Venugopal, on whose question the minister had replied in the House, said everyone has seen how people died due to a shortage of oxygen in several states, including the national capital.
“Actually, the minister misled the House and I will move a privilege against that minister definitely because the minister misguided and misled the House by giving false information,” he told reporters.
India’s death count crossed the 4-lakh mark earlier this month, including over 2.5 lakh deaths in the second wave alone, which was over one lakh more than the first wave of COVID-19.