Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
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AAP and BJP shrug off blame, then target each other over Delhi fire that killed 43 people

At a press conference, union minister Hardeep Puri defended BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation, which Delhi's AAP govt blamed for the fire that killed 43 people Sunday.

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New Delhi: The deaths of 43 people in the Anaj Mandi fire has triggered a political slugfest in the national capital, with the Modi government at the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) administration in Delhi blaming each other for the tragedy. 

A day after AAP sought to blame the BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation for the incident, the Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri Monday came to the civic body’s defence, saying the onus on checking if the factory was “illegal” fell on the Delhi government.  

“It is for the state’s fire department to go and check what’s going on,” Puri told the media Monday. “I am not saying MCD is blameless but we need to address the issue at hand right now.” 

The union minister, along with the BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari, had visited the spot Sunday.   

While Puri maintained that it was important for politicians and journalists “to rise above politics”, he contradicted himself not soon after. “So they (AAP government) have done nothing basically? Be it air pollution, be it dirty water in Delhi, be it unauthorised colonies,” he said. 

“One can’t give free resources and then shy away from such…,” he went on, before being interrupted by a journalist at the press conference. 

Puri had Sunday evening also tweeted a thread attempting to blame the AAP government.  It is also not known that by whose authority did this building have multiple electricity meters & connections. It is clear that precious lives would have been saved if these departments had been diligent,” he tweeted. 

 

Tiwari, meanwhile, Sunday alleged that electricity wires were dangling in the area but no action was taken by Delhi government agencies despite repeated complaints. 

He had also hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying he had shown “in-sensitiveness” by attending a programme to inaugurate a sewer line project at Timarpur on a day 43 lives were lost. 

AAP hits back, denies charges

The ruling AAP, however, dismissed Tiwari’s charge, saying the inauguration event was wrapped up with the chief minister paying condolences to the victims of the fire incident.

AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh told ThePrint: “It is an unfortunate incident. It is disgraceful that BJP is doing politics over it at this time as well.”   

He added it was the responsibility of the BJP-run Municipal Corporation of Delhi to shut the factory if it was found to be running illegally.

AAP leaders who attended the programme, said the event was turned into a condolence meet and was wrapped up with a brief speech by the chief minister. 

The office of the urban development minister of Delhi also released an official statement Monday evening slamming Puri’s remarks.   

“Apart from other factual inaccuracies and motivated allegations in the MoHUA’ (Puri’s) statement, some references have been made to the Delhi Urban Development Minister’s office with regards to the Master Plan for Delhi 2021, with special references to the Redevelopment Plan for Special Area,” the statement said. “The minister’s office has checked all records and states with full responsibility that the union ministry’s claim is false and misleading.” 

It added that the “elected government of Delhi” has been kept out of the entire process of Master Plans by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and other wings of the Central government.

“A tragic incident has been sought to be exploited for political reasons and it is unbecoming of a union ministry to become a part of this dangerous game,” the statement further read. 


Also read: Modi govt keeps affluent Delhi neighbourhoods out of bill to regularise illegal colonies 


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The blame game obscures the deeper underlying governance issues. Imagine trying to remove encroachments from roads and you will see people rise, judges rush to issue stays, and political parties stand on the sidelines. Try and shut down an illegal factory and there will goons (and workers who will loose jobs) fight back. Who doesn’t know about the illegal factories in Dharavi? Have we forgotten about the response to removing a temple in Delhi? The blame is shared by the entire society. It is convenient to blame political parties but their part of the blame is considerably smaller.

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