No plans for another lockdown: Delhi CM

Home Minister Amit Shah chairs key meetings, reviews Covid-19 situation in National Capital

LockdownImage Courtesy:timesofindia

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that there are no plans of another lockdown in the city. He categorically refuted the buzz gathering steam in the city that another, more strict, lockdown may be enforced as Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the city. 

He announced this on Twitter: “Many people are speculating whether another lockdown in Delhi is being planned. There are no such plans”

This decision has come a day after a meeting was called by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was attended by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Senior ministers and senior representatives of the civic bodies that together administer the National Capital Territory. Another meeting, this time an all party meeting was held on Monday too. Then the Home Minister chaired another meeting of senior doctors and administrators at the Delhi-government run LNJP hospital, which is a Covid-19 hospital. 

Though it has still not evoked any strong political reactions, this weekend has been crucial as far as Delhi politics, during the time of Covid-19 pandemic is concerned. There seems to have been a shift in the decision making power centre. It is also clearer that the Delhi government is under close scrutiny, especially with regard to its management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Delhi Government has always being following all the Covid-19 related directives of the Central Government, and any independent decision it took, such as the proposed reservation of delhi hospitals for Delhi citizens, or testing only those showing Covid-19 symptoms have been overruled by the Lt Gov, who is appointed by the Union Government.

Over the weekend the Union government seems to have taken over the controls of Delhi administrations’ Covid-19 management, and health and public policies related to it. Union Home Minister has been actively chaining multiple meetings, with the delhi political leadership, and administrative heads in attendance, on all things related to Covid-19. He has been posting development, decisions, meetings held at regular intervals on social media. The latest has been his review visit to the Delhi-government run LNJP hospital, which is a Covid-19 hospital. 

“At Delhi’s LNJP hospital to review the preparedness related to COVID-19.” 

Hours before that he had called for an all party meeting at his office to discuss the Delhi government’s Covid-19 response. He had said all parties should put aside their political differences, and work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narndra Modi, adding that this was in the interests of the people of Delhi. “Met with Delhi political parties in the context of Corona transition in Delhi. At this time, all parties should work for the interests of the people of Delhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Modiji, forgetting the political malice.  The solidarity of all the parties will increase public confidence and strengthen the fight against Corona.”   

On Sunday too he had chaired a high level meeting and said, “We have to turn the country and the national capital Corona free, healthy and prosperous at the earliest under the leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.” 

He had asked the Delhi Government, Mayors and Municipal Corporations to work together and “implement the decisions taken in this morning’s meeting.” He had also “directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to ensure all guidelines are enforced strictly,” said the statement issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). The Delhi Police reports directly to the Union Ministry for Home Affairs, and not the Delhi Government. 

Chief Minister Kejrwal, usually at loggerheads with the Centre, had no options but to agree this time. He posted: “Extremely productive meeting betn Del govt and Central govt. Many key decisions taken. We will fight against Corona together.”

Home Minister Amit Shah has also directed the Government and all the Municipal Corporations of Delhi to “ensure proper implementation of house-to-house survey, Corona testing etc to the lowest level.” He has stressed that testing be ramped up in the city and that it must be doubled over the next two days, and tripled in six days. He also announced that the railway coaches which have been converted into health case spaces will be provided to Delhi, and that will increase the availability of beds for Covid-19 patients. The Home Ministry announced: “Modi govt to immediately provide 500 converted rail coaches to the Delhi govt, adding 8,000 beds for COVID-19 patients. Testing to double in 2 days and treble in 6 days.”

The shift in the power balance and the intense focus on Delhi has also given a boost to the state unit of the Congress party that hopes to revive its presence in the city, and rebuild its voter base. After the all party meeting on monday, Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said, “CM has been misleading, & holding pvt hospitals responsible. We’ve submitted evidence to HM, he has sent that for probe by Health Secy. Construction of 3 large hospitals, with 2609 beds, should’ve been completed by Dec 2019. What game is Delhi govt playing?”

He also stressed on the fact that the Home Minister had accepted that everyone should have a right to Covid-19 testing, and had assured that a new policy will soon reflect that. The Congress leader also demanded that the Delhi government release the compensation of Rs 1 crore for the families of frontline workers who lost their lives while on Covis-19 duty.

The National Capital Territory shares a border with Haryana on three sides, and with Uttar Pradesh on one. Parts of both states are also included in the National Capital Region (NCR). The Capital’s borders with their neighbouring districts have been sealed from time to time as Covid-19 cases rose in the past weeks.  It is not yet known if the Union Home Minister will also call for high level meetings of the state governments of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and of the administrations of the districts that are a part of the NCR, to assess the Covid-19 situation soon.  


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