Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday launched a blistering attack against Arvind Kejriwal for politicising the water quality issue, saying "baseless allegations" are being made against him and challenged the Delhi Chief Minister to make BIS standard mandatory if water supplied in the national capital is 100 per cent pure.
He also criticised Mr Kejriwal for raising questions about the credibility of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), an autonomous body that has developed around 25,000 quality standards for various products and services.
The war of words between the two began soon after a BIS study said that drinking water quality in the national capital is among the worst in the country.
Mr Paswan said that a committee, comprising technical officers from the BIS and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), should be set up immediately to take samples from across 70 constituencies and 140 wards in the national capital by end of this month.
While making it clear that no political person should be part of the panel, he said the water samples should be tested at a government-accredited lab and that the reports should also be made public.
Wondering why Mr Kejriwal has not yet constituted 32 committees as announced by him, Mr Paswan on his part released a list of 32 names of BIS officials for these committees.
According to the Union minister, Mr Kejriwal is politicising the issue about water quality but not his party Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which does not fight election in Delhi.
"Kejriwal is committing more mistakes to hide one mistake. He is making baseless allegations against me," Mr Paswan told reporters.
Stressing that the Delhi Chief Minister should accept his mistake and check water quality by taking samples from across Delhi, Mr Paswan also said that as Consumer Affairs Minister it was his duty to protect the interest of people.
"I don't interfere with matters of anyone. If someone interferes in my matters, then I will not remain silent," Mr Paswan, who was furious over the allegations, said.
On allegations that water sample was also taken from the house of a LJP member in the national capital, Mr Paswan wanted to know whether the clean water would be supplied to only Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members.
Further, the Union minister said the BIS collected 100 litres of water from each of the 11 locations to check the quality of water in the national capital.
The Union Minister also challenged the Delhi Chief Minister to serve tap water supplied by the Delhi Jal Board in all official meetings.
He asked why people in Delhi install RO (Reverse Osmosis) system for water purification if the water supplied by the DJB is safe.
Last week, Mr Paswan released the second phase of the BIS study which stated that Delhi along with Kolkata and Chennai failed in almost 10 out of 11 quality parameters for drinking water.
During the first phase, the samples of drinking water were drawn from 11 different locations across Delhi and in the second phase, 10 samples were drawn from 10 locations of 20 state capitals.
Earlier in the day, the AAP demanded the resignation of Mr Paswan for giving out a "false" report which said Delhi's water is most unsafe among 21 major cities of India. BJP members staged a protest near Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence.
On Wednesday, Mr Kejriwal accused Mr Paswan of spreading lies and misleading people on the issue by citing media reports that suggested irregularities in the process of water sample collection in Delhi.