Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's office has expressed regret for the telecast of PM-CMs private conversation on the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country. The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) in a statement said that there was no instruction from the Centre that the interaction could not be shares with the media.
"Today, the CM address was shared live because there has never been any instruction, written or verbal, from 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," the CMO said.
"However, if any inconvenience was caused we highly regret that," it added.
Earlier today, Kejriwal raised an alarm that a "big tragedy" may happen due to oxygen shortage in hospitals during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the Centre should take over all oxygen plants through the Army.
"Centre government should take over all oxygen plants through the Army and every tanker coming out of the oxygen plant should be accompanied by an Army escort vehicle," he said during a live telecast of the meeting.
Minutes later, government sources objected to the live telecast of the private conversation between the PM and CMs, saying Kejriwal used the Prime Minister-Chief Ministers conference on Covid-19 as a platform to play politics.
"He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that Centre does not keep one vaccine dose with itself and shares with states only," news agency ANI quoted government sources as saying. They said that Kejriwal raised point of airlifting oxygen, but did not know that it is already being done. "He spoke about Oxygen express by Railways but Railway sources say that he has not communicated anything about it to Railways."
Kejriwal has descended to a new low, government sources said, adding that for the first time, private conversation between the PM and CMs was televised. "His entire speech was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evade responsibility," they said.
PM Modi on Friday held a meeting with CMs of 10 states with the most number of COVID-19 cases. The meeting via video conferencing comes amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases, which have now clocked a daily total of over 3 lakh in the country. Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are among those who attended the meeting.
PM Modi will hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country via video conference amid concerns expressed by some states that their supply of the life-saving gas is running short with a number of hospitals sending out SOS.