Apart from the discussion on oxygen shortage and the COVID-19 situation in the country, the PM-CMs meet on Friday made headlines for something unexpected. Delhi Chief Minister Narendra Modi was seen appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replenish the oxygen stock in the national capital. However, the meeting was to be a private one and turns out that neither the PMO nor PM Modi had any inkling that it was being televised by the Delhi CM. Several union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders accused Kejriwal of using the platform to “play politics” and “spread lies”. The CMO however said that there was no instruction to not air the meeting.
In Friday’s meeting between Prime Minister Modi and CMs of 10 hard-hit states from coronavirus, the Delhi CM made an impassioned appeal to PM Modi. “Please sir, we need your guidance,” Kejriwal said, adding that oxygen tankers were being stopped from entering the city. “I request you with folded hands to direct all Chief Ministers to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” Kejriwal said.
“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,” he said. “PM Sir, please, do make a phone call to the Chief Minister of the state where maximum trucks (tankers carrying oxygen) are being stopped so oxygen can reach Delhi,” Kejriwal added.
Subsequently, PM Modi interrupted Kejriwal and objected to broadcast the private discussion. The PM said, “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”.
The PM chided the Delhi CM and said, it is “not appropriate, we should always maintain restraint”. Thereafter, Kejriwal apologised to the Prime Minister and said, “Ok sir, we will be careful in future”.
Meanwhile, government sources told ANI news agency that the interaction was not meant to be televised and accused Kejriwal of “descending to a new low”.
“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,” said the sources.
“He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that Centre does not keep even one vaccine dose and shares with states only,” they said.
“All Chief Ministers spoke about what they are doing to improve the situation. However, Kejriwal had nothing to speak on what he is doing,” the government sources added.
After an hour, a statement from Delhi Chief Minister’s office said: “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”.
The CMO added that there have been multiple occasions of similar interactions where matters of public importance which had no confidential information were shared live”. “If any inconvenience was caused we highly regret that,” it added.