Arvind Kejriwal said other states are opening hotels, markets despite increasing coronavirus cases.
A third proposal to lift restrictions from Delhi’s hotels, gyms and weekly markets was sent to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal today by the Arvind Kejriwal government a week after its two earlier proposals were turned down. Mr Baijal has returned two proposals over the last weekend, contending that the coronavirus situation in the national capital was still too “fragile”.
Pointing to the decreasing number of infections in the national capital, Mr Kejriwal has now argued that the Delhi government “has the right to decide” about lifting restrictions in line with the guidelines of the Central government.
Government data shows that 1,299 fresh cases of coronavirus were logged over the last 25 hours in Delhi, taking the total to 1,41,531. Fifteen patients have died, taking the number of fatalities to 4,059.
Mr Kejriwal, known to be eager to restart economic activities since the second phase of the lockdown ended, also argued that coronavirus cases are increasing in many states in the country. But hotels, gyms and weekly markets are opening there despite the deteriorating situation. “So why are the people of Delhi being prevented from earning their livelihood?” he argued.
Following the Lieutenant Governor’s consecutive refusals over the week-end, Mr Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia had also written to Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday.
Requesting him to instruct the Lieutenant Governor to immediately approve the proposal, Mr Sisodia wrote: “Coronavirus cases are steadily decreasing in Delhi and the situation is under control. Cases, however, are increasing in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, but over there hotels and weekly markets are allowed to function… It is inconceivable why a state that did a better job of bringing the coronavirus outbreak under control is being forced to shut down its economy”.
Two days later, on Monday, Mr Shah tested positive for coronavirus. He is currently recuperating in hospital.
Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has said the Centre takes “sadistic pleasure in inflicting pain on the people of Delhi”. The party, which has repeatedly accused the Lieutenant Governor of being the Centre’s stooge, said the Centre must stop interfering in decisions of the Delhi government.
The country logged more than 56,000 new coronavirus patients in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said this morning, which takes to the total to 19.65 lakh total cases.