The office of the Delhi chief minister apologised on Friday for televising parts of the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and CM’s of 10 worst-hit COVID-19 states.
Modi’s discussion with Arvind Kejriwal went live on TV for some time as the Delhi CM talked about the capital’s crippling oxygen crisis.
“My belief is that if there is a national plan against COVID, then the Centre and all state governments can work together in that direction. Our departed souls…” Kejriwal can be seen saying before Modi cuts in.
“What is happening? This is strictly against our tradition, our protocol… that some chief minister is showing a live telecast of an in-house meeting,” Modi says. “This is not appropriate, we should always maintain restraint.”
The CM apologises – “OK sir, we will be careful in future” – before resuming his thread and expressing regret once again.
“Our departed souls, those who have died because of corona, may their families get the strength to bear it. If there was any mistake on my part, I have said anything harsh or if there is anything wrong in my conduct, then I apologise. We will follow instructions given to us,” Kejriwal says.
“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 chief ministers to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi.
“Will people of Delhi not get oxygen if there is no oxygen-producing plant here? Please suggest whom should I speak to in the central government when an oxygen tanker meant for Delhi is stopped in another state.”
The chief minister’s office later issued a statement: “Today, the chief minister’s address was shared live because there has never been any instruction, written or verbal, from the central government that the said interaction could not be shared live. There have been multiple occasions of similar interactions where matters of public importance which had no confidential information were shared live. However, if any inconvenience was caused we highly regret that.”
Government sources criticised Kejriwal. “For the first time, private conversations of PM’s meeting with chief ministers is being televised. His entire speech was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evading responsibility,” NDTV quoted a source as saying.