The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his remarks about "new form of coronavirus in Singapore" that have sparked a controversy, alleging that it is part of his "toolkit to spread confusion and anarchy".
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia charged Mr Kejriwal with seeking political mileage at the cost of India's image with his "irresponsible" tweet and said the Delhi chief minister keeps making "hue and cry" over one issue or another so that nobody questions him on his "all-round failure" in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the city.
The BJP also accused the AAP chief of "serious violation" of constitutional propriety by speaking on matters of foreign affairs and alleged that Mr Kejriwal's statements are not only jeopardising the lives of Indian citizens but also friendly relations with countries that are coming forward to help our nation.
"Kejriwal has presented his toolkit of spreading confusion and anarchy and seems to be competing with the Congress in propagating lies and destabilising the country," Mr Bhatia alleged.
In a tweet, Mr Kejriwal had said on Tuesday: "A new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave.
"My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis."
After Singapore had objected to Mr Kejriwal's tweet, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had ticked him off saying the Delhi chief minister does not speak for India.
"The Delhi government believes in making so much hue and cry as to ensure that nobody questions it on its all-round failure in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the city," Mr Bhatia said.
The BJP spokesperson alleged the AAP government believes in the PPP model of "publicity, cheap politics and panic".
Senior AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia defended Mr Kejriwal's comments and accused the BJP and its government of doing "cheap politics" over the issue.
The statements and reactions of the BJP and Centre show that they are "concerned" about their "image" in Singapore and not about the children in India, Sisodia charged at a press conference.
Mr Bhatia said it is clear that it is Mr Kejriwal who is doing "cheap politics" as he did not even try to verify before posting his controversial tweet.
In its statement, the Singapore foreign ministry said there is no "Singapore variant" and that the strain prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant.
Following Singapore foreign ministry's reaction regretting the "unfounded assertions" by Mr Kejriwal, S Jaishankar said: "... irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships. So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India."
MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian High Commissioner conveyed to the Singapore government that the Delhi chief minister had no competence to comment on COVID variants.
Attacking Mr Kejriwal, the BJP spokesperson said: "Meddling in foreign policy matters which is as per the Constitution of India is not a state subject amounts to serious violation of constitutional propriety."
He cited reports to highlight Singapore's support to India during the recent oxygen crisis and said Mr Kejriwal's comments are dangerous and can't be overlooked.
"Don't weaken India. In the process you will be weakened too," he said.
After Mr Kejriwal's tweet, Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri had said that all international flights have been stopped since March 2020 and there isn't even an air bubble arrangement with Singapore. Only a few flights are being operated between the two countries under Vande Bharat Mission to bring stranded Indians back, he added.
"We are still keeping an eye on the situation. All precautions are being taken," Mr Puri informed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)