New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the Chief Minister of the 10 states worst hit by the deadly second wave of Covid today, on a day India touched a new record of 3.32 lakh Covid cases and 2,263 deaths in 24 hours. His discussion with Arvind Kejriwal, which was live on TV for some time, became controversial as the Delhi Chief Minister talked about the capital’s crippling oxygen crisis and the central government later accused him of using the platform for “playing politics” and “spreading lies”.

Arvind Kejriwal said a “big tragedy” could happen because of the oxygen shortage in Delhi hospitals and said to the Prime Minister: “Please sir, we need your guidance.”

He said oxygen tankers were being stopped from entering the city.

“People in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” Mr Kejriwal said.

“Will people of Delhi not get oxygen if there is no oxygen-producing plant here? Please suggest whom should I speak to in Central Govt when an oxygen tanker destined for Delhi is stopped in another state,” he said.

Mr Kejriwal urged PM Modi to facilitate the airlifting of oxygen from West Bengal and Odisha to resolve the shortage in Delhi Hospitals.

“PM Sir, please, do make a phone call to the Chief Minister of the state where maximum trucks (tankers carrying oxygen) are being stopped so oxygen can reach Delhi.”  The Chief Minister called for a national policy to tackle the crisis.

Government sources said the interaction was not meant to be televised and accused Mr Kejriwal of “descending to a new low”.

“For the first time, private conversations of PMs meeting with CM is being televised. His entire speech was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evading responsibility,” said the sources.

Top sources said Mr Kejriwal raised the point of airlifting oxygen but “did not know” it is already being done. The Centre, they said, had done more to provide beds and oxygen than the Delhi Government.

“He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that Centre does not keep even one vaccine dose and shares with states only,” they said.

“All Chief Ministers spoke about what they are doing to improve the situation. However Kejriwal had nothing to speak on what he is doing.”

They also accused the Delhi Chief Minister of “yawning and laughing”” during a previous meeting on Covid with PM Modi.

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