Delhi government in denial mode as dengue, chikungunya spread

With five people succumbing to chikungunya in the Delhi National Capital Region in the past two days and the number of dengue cases crossing 1,150, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed the Narendra Modi-led central government for failure to contain the vector-borne disease.

Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain, meanwhile, denied that chikungunya was at all fatal. Jain who was in Goa campaigning for the party, returned on Tuesday the evening after facing criticism. Blaming the municipal corporations headed by the BJP, Jain claimed that chikungunya could never be the cause of anyone's death and blamed ''paid media'' for creating ''panic''.

''There has never been any death due to chikungunya in the world. Prove it medically. Medically chikungunya can never be cause of anyone's death,'' he said.

Kejriwal said Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be ''questioned'' over the issue as they had all the powers. Kejriwal took to social networking sites to deflect criticism over Jain's absence by saying Jung was not in the capital either.

He said that Delhi government was ''incapable of even buying a pen'' as he and his state cabinet colleagues were ''fully stripped of powers.''  He tweeted, ''CM n min left wid no power now, even to buy a pen. LG n PM enjoy all powers wrt Del. LG abroad. Question them for Del.''

However, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit pointed out that the government was slow to take care of fumigation in the state. ''Since the health department belongs to the state government, it should be held responsible for the situation,'' she said.

As the city reels under a major health crisis, the entire Delhi cabinet except tourism minister Kapil Mishra was missing from action as ministers, including Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, and Gopal Rai, are out of station. The newly-appointed heath secretary Chandarkar Bharti is on a 10-day leave till 16 September.

While Kejriwal is in Bengaluru for a throat check-up, Jain was in Goa to help the AAP make inroads in the upcoming assembly polls. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has left for Finland to study its education system. Labour minister Gopal Rai is in Chhattisgarh to consolidate the AAP's base there while environment minister Imran Hussain has gone to Saudi Arabia for Haj.