The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday hurled accusations at one another after the saffron party’s Delhi chief was seen playing cricket in Haryana’s Sonipat district. Manoj Tiwari took part in the game at an academy in Sheikhpura without wearing a mask.
The BJP leader, however, denied violating any lockdown guidelines, ANI reported. “I was wearing a mask, I have not violated any norm or rule,” Tiwari added. “Now permission has been granted to play in the stadium without any audience, a few people are misleading this. I have been obeying social distancing norms amid the lockdown and I can never commit this mistake. This is incorrect reporting of the event.”
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government accused Tiwari of being insensitive to the plight of the poor and stranded migrants. “Lakhs of migrant workers are struggling to go back home, many have lost their lives in accidents, many are stranded and starving on roads,” AAP tweeted. “But Delhi BJP Chief and MP Manoj Tiwari chose to focus on cricket.”
In another tweet, the party also pointed out that BJP leader Gautam Gambhir was busy playing ludo. “Choose your leaders wisely,” it added.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also castigated Tiwari for playing cricket during the pandemic. “Haryana government is not allowing doctors to come to Delhi and vice versa, then how did they allow Manoj Tiwari to take part in a sports activity?” he asked. “Is he not from Delhi? If we talk about social distancing and conveying message during this time...what is BJP doing in this regard?”
He also questioned how an elected representative can ignore a humanitarian crisis, The Indian Express reported. “At this time of Covid crisis, the way Tiwari went to another state to play cricket, by violating lockdown norms, is an utterly insensitive act,” Singh said. “Every day, thousands of poor migrant labourers are walking on the streets and many of them have lost their lives due to road accidents.”
Tiwari claimed the Kejriwal government was “unnecessarily politicising” the matter. “I had gone there to meet a few people,” he added. “AAP wants to hide the fact their MLA Prakash Jarwal is involved in extortion, which led to a doctor committing suicide.”
Meanwhile, other BJP leaders attacked the Delhi government for failing to handle the coronavirus outbreak. Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that Kejriwal had become “a machine of lies” and accused him of hiding the real figures.
Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta alleged that the health system of Delhi had collapsed and the pandemic had reached “unauthorised settlements” as well as slums.
Delhi has so far recorded 14,053 coronavirus cases and 276 deaths, according to the figures from the health ministry.