Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday thanked Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Gautam Gambhir’s offer of Rs 50 lakh to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks for doctors and nurses working to fight the coronavirus disease.
As the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came under attack from the BJP for the second time in two days, Arvind Kejriwal also tried to clear the air.
“Gautam ji, thank u for ur offer. The problem is not of money but availability of PPE kits. We wud be grateful if u cud help us get them from somewhere immediately, Del govt will buy them. Thank u (sic),” Kejriwal tweeted.
The BJP’s barbs came after Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal’s deputy, on Saturday sought central funds to fight coronavirus pandemic, saying it was the third most affected state in the country.
Sisodia, in a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had alleged the Centre released over Rs 17,000 crore to states from the disaster fund but not a single rupee was given to Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal had also claimed that his government has asked for PPE kits from the Centre but none were received.
After that, Gautam Gambhir, who represents East Delhi in the Lok Sabha, had accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of “shedding crocodile tears” and “playing the victim card” over the issue on Saturday.
Gambhir also said that he had offered to donate Rs 50 lakh to the Delhi government for buying PPE kits and masks, but did not receive any feedback.
Manoj Tiwari, the BJP’s Delhi unit president, had also tweeted about Arvind Kejriwal’s intention pointing to the AAP’s budget of Rs 65,000 crore and its inability to buy PPE kits worth Rs 1-2 crore.
On Monday, the former cricketer targeted the Kejriwal-led government once again.
“CM @ArvindKejriwal & his Dy say funds are needed. Though their massive egos didn’t allow them to take 50 L from my LAD fund earlier, I pledge 50 L more so that innocents don’t suffer!” Gambhir posted.
“1 CR would at least solve urgent need for masks & PPE kits for days Hope they prioritize Delhi,” he said.
At least 24 health care workers—doctors, nurses, sanitation staff—in Delhi have contracted Covid-19 and raised questions about the availability of adequate PPEs such as full-body suits, goggles, masks, gloves and shoe covers.
Resident doctors at Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital have written to NGOs asking for PPE kits and masks. The doctors, however, said there wasn’t an immediate shortage, but any help was appreciated in the long battle.
Delhi has the third-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
The Union health ministry said on Monday morning that there are 528 cases of the coronavirus disease, including 18 people who have been cured of discharged, and seven fatalities.