The BJP on Thursday demanded a white paper from Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government on issues related to COVID-19, asking if the number of deaths was "fudged" to keep the official tally down and what were the reasons for the city's high death rate.
The BJP on Thursday demanded a white paper from Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government on issues related to COVID-19, asking if the number of deaths was “fudged” to keep the official tally down and what were the reasons for the city’s high death rate. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over “unaccounted” deaths, citing a media report that municipal corporations in Delhi had issued 34,750 death certificates for April and May while the official Covid tally for the period was 13,201.
“We want to hold the AAP accountable for what has happened,” Patra said, accusing it of hiding the real tally. Addressing a virtual press conference, he noted that the number of death certificates for the corresponding period last year was 9,916, marking a rise of about 250 per cent this year. April and May saw the peak of the second wave of the pandemic. “Who are these people (whose deaths remain unaccounted for) as Delhi government does not want to even name them,” Patra said, noting that many experts have sought an audit of these deaths.
The fatality rate of 2.9 per cent in Delhi is more than double the overall national rate of 1.3 per cent, he said. “Did you fudge death numbers… You issue a white paper on the questions being raised by us,” Patra said, addressing Kejriwal. The BJP leader also wondered why Delhi recorded over 14.25 lakh Covid cases when a state like Haryana, which has more population and area, has only 7.55 lakh cases.
According to Patra, Kejriwal now claims his government is preparing for the third wave but people have no faith in him. Taking a swipe at the state government’s recent announcement that liquor will be home delivered, Patra alleged that the promised oxygen cylinders have not been delivered at home but liquor will be.
The BJP spokesperson asked if Covid testing was kept deliberately low when the pandemic was at its peak during April-May to “protect” the AAP government’s image. He also questioned the government on why no new hospital was opened in the city during 2015-19. Patra dubbed the Delhi government minister Gopal Rai’s reported comments about planting trees to avoid oxygen crisis “ignorant and insensitive”.
Raising the issue of the AAP and the Congress supporting farmer protests, he said the continuing stir made the venues where protestors have been camping fertile for spreading the infection. The AAP government should also address the issue of the plight of migrants in its white paper, he said.