Delhi ministers on Saturday questioned lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung for being on ‘leave’, a day after the L-G reportedly asked deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia to return from his official visit to Finland in light of the recent dengue and chikungunya outbreak.
Health minister Satyendra Jain and tourism and water resources minister Kapil Mishra went to meet Jung at his office in the morning, but could not as the L-G was not available.
Speaking to reporters outside the secretariat, the ministers said they were informed by officials that LG was not available even at his residence.
“Went to LG office. Asked on phone if anything urgent as he faxed ydy to recall DyCm. Ans: nothing urgent to discuss, no time to meet today (sic),” Jain tweeted.
At least 15 people have died of chikungunya-related complications in Delhi hospitals. There are 1,724 reported cases in the national capital till September 11, the last day to which data is available with the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
The L-Gs office refuted their charges with officials saying the ministers arrived at the office without seeking a prior appointment or even intimating him of their visit.
“Secretary to Lt Governor met the hon’ble ministers since the Lt Governor’s office is operational on all days of the week. However, they neither submitted any letter nor gave any representation to the Lt Governor,” the L-G’s office said in a statement.
“It is regrettable that at a time when Delhi is facing such a serious public health crisis, the elected government is choosing to politicize the issue instead of providing succour to the public,” it added.
“The Lt. Governor’s office is keeping a close watch on the health situation in Delhi and is getting regular updates on the situation from the Chief Secretary and Secretary (H & FW), GNCTD.”
Mishra, however, argued that a prior appointment at the time of crisis is not important.
“The L-G summoned the deputy CM from Finland. We thought he must have some emergency reason. So we came here to discuss the issue. But came to know that he is not working today,” Mishra said, adding he has appealed to the L-G to join him in his One Delhi campaign in Chandni Chowk later in the day.
Mishra has also written a letter to L-G attacking him on his recent holiday in the US and questioned the purpose of his order asking Sisodia to cut short his Finland visit.
“I appeal to the L-G - please come to the office today as all the hospitals and mohalla clinics are working. It’s no time to go on a holiday,” he tweeted later.
Sisodia left for Finland on September 13 on an educational trip with senior officials of Delhi government’s education department, inviting criticism from opponents for choosing to travel abroad at a time when vector-borne diseases have gripped the city.
The L-G order came on a day when some TV channels aired pictures of Sisodia ‘holidaying’ in Finland.
Sisodia on Friday refuted all allegations and said it was not a “sin” to study the schooling system of other countries to fix the problems in Delhi’s education system.
The deputy chief minister, who also holds the education portfolio, said he has worked hard to improve the education system in the national capital and that he was in Finland to see what more needs to be done.