As pandemic explodes, 
so does Delhi’s politics

New Delhi: Around 100 COVID symptomatic patients gathered at Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Thursday to get screened before being allowed to get tested. They all stood in close proximity, throwing all social distancing norms to the wind as reports came in about staff at Delhi crematoriums doing back-to-back shifts to cremate the dead.

However, the national capital's power elite are on a different trip -- to politically topple each other.

As a Delhi government official scanned the official data of active cases hitting 19,581 in the afternoon, Delhi BJP tweeted: "Delhi government should release a clear data as to how many corona patients have been treated and admitted to government hospitals by June 10".

In a letter written by Delhi's new BJP chief Adesh Gupta to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a day before, he called the predictions of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia about a steep spike in corona cases as "political frustration".

All through Thursday morning, Gupta went around meeting senior party leaders such as Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Union minister Vijay Goyal, "seeking their blessings".

On Wednesday as Kejriwal rushed to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the rising Covid cases in the national capital, his party from its official Twitter handle posted a slice of news bulletin with a superimposed heading in large fonts that read, "BJP ka jhoot hua expose (BJP's lies stand exposed)".

When Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal overruled the Kejriwal government's much-criticized decision to reserve Delhi hospitals for Delhites, AAP's National Executive member Raghav Chaddha called it "BJP sponsored order". "It is draconian, unconstitutional and against the spirit of democracy," he alleged. However, the LG as the head of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority was well within his rights to do so. BJP MP from South Delhi Ramesh Bidhuri has called Kejriwal a man of “theatrics”.

"He is an embarrassment to the very post of Chief Minister," said Bidhuri, whose animosity with Kejriwal is well known. In an interview, he gave 'minus 1' to Kejriwal out of 10 on his performance during the lockdown period.

There is not a single issue, not a single action that is not being politicized in the national capital. Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party has ccused the BJP-led Haryana government of punishing Delhites in the name of sealing borders with the national capital. When the sealing was in place, Singh alleged, "In order to prevent the corona warriors from entering Haryana, the Khattar government has dug up the roads."

Meanwhile, the Congress too didn't lose the opportunity to politicize the test result of Kejriwal himself. Congress's media panelist Aman Panwar has questioned how Kejriwal could obtain his Covid test results in just 7 hours while people of the national capital are struggling to get tested.

Party leader Ajay Maken also moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the Delhi government and the Centre over the handling of the issue in the national capital. He called it a "nikkammapan" (incompetence) of both.

Amid the raging political rhetoric, the COVID tally continues to move up as Delhiites remain in the grip of the "system."

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Free Press Journal