Not the time for politics: Kejriwal will follow L-G's directive
Days after Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal overturned the directive of the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi pertaining to reservation of beds in select hospitals, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday that the decision will be respected. "Now is not the time for political disagreements," Kejriwal, who tested negative for coronavirus, said at a virtual press meet. Read on for more details.
Last week, Kejriwal reserved state-run and private hospitals in Delhi for residents, not extending the order to Central government-operated facilities or those undertaking special surgeries. This was done to save the overwhelmed healthcare system from collapsing, just as Delhi unsealed its borders with neighboring Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and India entered the unlocking phase, letting go of almost all the restrictions imposed in March.
On Monday, Baijal struck the order, that had already got Kejriwal criticism. "The order violated the constitutional right to equality and right to life which includes the right to health. Earlier also, a similar order of Delhi government was struck down by the High Court on the ground that no citizen of India can be discriminated on the grounds of the residence," Baijal said.
The same sentiment was reflected in a statement released by Baijal's office, though it was more critical of the order. "It is unfortunate that any responsible government should attempt to discriminate amongst patients on grounds of the residence," the note read. Suggesting Delhi government to concentrate on ramping up infrastructure, the office underscored, "We are all Indians and Delhi belongs to all."
While this flashpoint was being discussed, Kejriwal said now was not the time for political differences. "We won 62 seats in Delhi election. The Centre has decided and this is not the time to differ. Whatever the Centre has decided and the L-G has ordered, that will be implemented," he said. However, he underlined that shortage of beds was a "huge challenge".
"If political parties keep fighting, coronavirus will win. The entire country has to be united in its fight. You cannot even imagine the crisis we are in," he added.
On a related note, just yesterday, Kejriwal's deputy, Manish Sisodia, said Delhi would be needing 80,000 additional beds by July 31. Upping this number, Kejriwal said 1.5 lakh beds will be needed by the aforementioned date. "It is a huge and unprecedented challenge. By July 15, Delhi will need 33,000 beds, and including those from outside the city, we will need 65,000," he noted.