3 Chikungunya deaths in Delhi, Health Minister away, Kejriwal says ‘Ask PM’

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Three people died on Monday of chikungunya, the first deaths in the capital from the mosquito borne disease. At least 10 people have died of dengue and malaria and hospitals are overflowing with patients.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who too is away for throat surgery in Bengaluru, has shrugged off all responsibility as he sought to deflect criticism over Mr Jain’s absence by pointing out that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung is not in the capital either. Mr Jung is in the US.

Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister and the man in charge of Delhi during Mr Kejriwal’s 10-day visit to Bengaluru, is also not in town. He is in Finland for an education programme.

Kapil Mishra, one AAP minister who is available in Delhi, blamed the BJP-dominated Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD, asking where the “mayor has disappeared”.

“The MCD is responsible for fogging to keep mosquitoes away,” said Mr Mishra, also stating that Sayender Jain will be back in the capital today and that he has been getting constant updates on the Delhi health situation.

Mr Kejriwal too had drawn much criticism last week for choosing to skip a one-day session of the Delhi assembly that he had called to clear urgent business. He went to Punjab instead to supervise election work there.

The opposition BJP had asked in the house why Mr Kejriwal was absent, leading to a spirited defence of the chief minister by today’s missing minister Satyender Jain, who had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his foreign tours.

While AAP’s ministers defend each other and justify their absence from Delhi for election-related tours, over a 1,000 chikungunya cases, 1,100 dengue cases and 21 cases of malaria have been reported so far.

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