The Delhi pollution responsibility ball is being lobbed by the chief ministers of the three states in each other’s courts. Now, the time has come for full confrontations. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Tuesday, ruled out a meeting with his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who wanted to hold talks over the issue of stubble burning, asking him not to “politicise” the serious matter. Singh claimed he failed to understand why the Delhi chief minister was trying to force his hand, knowing well that any such discussion would be “meaningless and futile”. His statements come after Kejriwal demanded his time for a meeting in Chandigarh. “Sir, I am coming to Chandigarh on Wednesday to meet Haryana CM. Would be grateful if u cud (could) spare some time to meet me. It is in collective interest,” Kejriwal said in a tweet. Singh also alleged that Kejriwal’s tendency to indulge in petty street politics is well-known and asked Kejriwal to stop politicising the serious issue of stubble burning.
Singh further alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader was “trying to divert” public attention from his government’s “failure” to check the problem of pollution in Delhi, as exposed by the National Green Tribunal’s response to the “ill-conceived” odd-even scheme. The problems faced by the national capital and Punjab on this count were completely different with no meeting ground, Singh said. He said unlike Punjab, Delhi’s problem was the result mainly of urban pollution caused by “mismanaged” transportation and “unplanned” industrial development. Instead of focusing his attention on resolving these issues, Kejriwal wanted to “waste” time holding “useless” discussions, Singh alleged, adding that he, unfortunately, did not have the same luxury of time. He dubbed Kejriwal’s proposed visit to Chandigarh as another example of the Delhi chief minister allegedly leaving the national capital in the midst of a crisis and travelling to other places when his presence was needed the most at home. “How else can one explain Kejriwal’s desperation to seek a meeting with me at this juncture, especially when I had categorically rejected such a suggestion earlier,” the Punjab chief minister said.
Singh’s media adviser Raveen Thukral tweeted this message, “Stop politicising the pollution issue, you (Kejriwal) know any meeting between us would be useless, and in any case now that the apex court is also seized of the matter, let us leave it to them and the central government to find long-term solutions.”