As the toll from dengue continues to rise in the national capital, political parties seem to be using the issue to play the blame-game.
Three people, including a 41-year-old woman, a seven-year-old boy and a 14-year-old, succumbed to dengue in 16 in Delhi on Wednesday, taking the toll to 16 in the national capital. Officials however have put the number of lives claimed by dengue at five.
Congress activists on Thursday protested outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence to highlight the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's alleged inefficiency in handling the rising cases of dengue in the national capital.
The protesters were led by Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and Congress spokesperson P.C. Chacko. Slogans like 'Kejriwal hosh mein aao' (Kejriwal, come to senses) were raised.
The protest followed comments by senior Congress leaders critical of the central and Delhi governments' handling of the dengue situation in the national capital.
Congress leader P.C Chacko, slamming the BJP-led central government, said it is the responsibility of the central government to meet the expenditure incurred for dengue tests and provide medical and health facilities for the poor.
"Municipal corporations have got funds to control the spread of mosquitoes but they have done nothing," he added. "How would poor people affected by dengue afford to spend money on medical tests?" he asked. "The central government should come forward and meet the expenditure to tackle this epidemic."
"This is a protest of humanity in pain and distress. Don't view it from the prism of politics. We demand immediate action. The rift between the AAP and BJP has weakened the Delhi (power) corridors," Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told IANS.
The AAP has hit back and has accused the Congress of politicising the issue of dengue deaths and said instead of protesting, its members should have donated blood to help patients.
"If only the Congress leaders, who have politicised the issue and protested over dengue deaths, have donated blood, it would have helped," AAP leader Dilip Pandey said while addressing a press conference in Delhi.
He said the AAP officials have met private medical practitioners in the city to start "fever clinics", which would provide treatment to dengue patients for free."This is a step to reduce the rush which is seen in government hospitals due to many dengue patients," Pandey said.
He added that the Delhi government was also taking all possible steps for the patients, like increasing the number of beds in hospitals.
AAP workers would also go on a door-to-door survey at homes to find out the dengue situation, he added.
The AAP leader also blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party governed civic bodies for not taking enough preventive measures such as fogging.
He said civic bodies were not doing enough in educating people about the preventive methods to avoid dengue.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the central and Delhi governments what steps are being taken to prevent the spread of dengue in the national capital. The court directed them to file affidavits explaining these steps within two weeks.
Delhi's civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the capital and the number of cases as 1,872.