Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday hit back at a contentious report that claimed his government had "exaggerated oxygen need" at the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus. "My crime is I fought for the lives of Delhi's 2 crore people," the Chief Minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
A report circulated in the media from sources close to the BJP had claimed that the Delhi government had "exaggerated" the capital's oxygen needs by four times at the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 and the supply of excess oxygen to Delhi "affected other states".
Central government sources said it is the interim report of a Supreme Court audit team. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Delhi, however, insists there is no such report and the claim is part of "malicious and false" propaganda.
"When you were addressing election rallies, i was awake all night arranging for oxygen. I fought and pleaded to arrange oxygen for people," Mr Kejriwal said, in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rallies in West Bengal.
"People have lost their loved ones due to shortage of oxygen. Please don't call them liars. They're feeling very bad," he added.
Earlier, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia denied the existence of any report by the Supreme Court-appointed Oxygen Audit Committee criticising the Delhi government.
At an online press briefing, he accused the BJP of lying about such a report.
"There is no such report. We have spoken to the members of the Oxygen Audit Committee formed by the Supreme Court. They said they have not signed or approved any such report. The BJP is presenting a false report that it prepared at its party headquarters. I challenge them to present such a report which has signatures of the members of the oxygen audit committee," Mr Sisodia said.
By doing this, the BJP is not abusing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, but "those who lost their family members due to oxygen shortage when coronavirus cases were at its peak, he said and accused the Union government of mismanagement "which led to the oxygen crisis".
Delhi was devastated by a brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in April and May, claiming hundreds of lives daily, with a shortage in oxygen supply at various city hospitals adding to the crisis.