Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party today took exception to Delhi BJP leader Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma's comment in parliament linking the sweeping environmental pollution in north India with the Chief Minister's health, questioning why the BJP was not making any effort to control it.
"Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma made sickening remarks against @ArvindKejriwal in the temple of democracy i.e. the parliament. Why not use the same stage to make policies and curb the air pollution?" a tweet from the party read.
"First Arvind Kejriwal used to cough alone. Now the whole of Delhi coughs," the BJP parliamentarian had said at a meeting on pollution in parliament today. When the Speaker objected to the use of names, he repeated his remark, referring to Mr Kejriwal as the "Delhi Chief Minister".
He then went on to refer to the Chief Minister as "a huge pollution" and levelled corruption accusations against the Delhi government regarding pollution control.
"Fifty lakh masks were ordered without tender. It was a scam worth crores," Mr Verma said. "Thousands of trees were cut in Delhi on the order of the deputy Chief Minister. Elections are about to come and odd-even was done. He (Arvind Kejriwal) is playing politics. No treated water goes to Yamuna from industries. All of you MPs should give 2 crore from your fund for air purifiers," he added.
Referring to the BJP leader's remarks as "extremely derogatory" and "sickening to the core", AAP's Raghav Chadha said it shows the party's "criminal negligence and apathy towards environmental pollution".
"If the BJP thinks abusing the Chief Minister, making derogatory statements about his family or his health can help them bring down pollution in the NCT of Delhi, then they are welcome to do so. From morning to evening, every MP of the Bharatiya Janata Party should abuse the Chief Minister and his family members," he added.
In its tweet, AAP had also asked why the BJP was not attending "parliamentary meetings on pollution".
The reference was to the absence of senior officials at a standing committee meeting on pollution last week that was led by the Urban Development Ministry.
Today, the Speaker had summoned the officials and pulled them up. Action will be taken in case of a repeat, the group was told. The officials who skipped the meet included bureaucrats from the Delhi Development Authority and Municipal Corporation, which are under BJP control, and members of the Delhi Jal Board.