The BJP on Tuesday lashed out at Delhi and Punjab chief ministers for high pollution in the national capital and demanded their resignations alleging that it was "nothing short of criminal negligence" which worsened the air quality.
BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said people of Delhi as well as Punjab were blaming the Aam Aadmi Party governments led by Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann, respectively, for the "poison" in air and cited figures to assert that incidents of stubble burning in Punjab had gone up to 10,214 from 7,648.
Delhi has been enveloped by eye-stinging smog for the last several days. Data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), a forecasting agency under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, showed that stubble burning accounted for 22 per cent of the city's PM 2.5 pollution on Monday. It was 26 per cent on Sunday, the highest this year so far, and 21 per cent on Saturday.
The city's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 392 (very poor), worsening from 352 on Sunday. Speaking to reporters here, Bhatia alleged that Kejriwal and his party were busy in "corruption" and "looting" people while ignoring the Centre's directive to Punjab way back in February to take measures to curb stubble burning.
Hitting out at Kejriwal and Mann for their "incompetence and absence of any responsibility", Bhatia quoted from the Delhi chief minister's statements made last year and earlier, where he had blamed stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana for the dangerous level of pollution in Delhi. The AAP came to power in Punjab in March this year.
While the BJP government in Haryana worked to reduce stubble burning incidents to 1,925 from 2,873, the numbers have only gone up in Punjab, spiking pollution in north Indian states, Bhatia said. He claimed that the Centre had given Punjab Rs 1,350 cr against Rs 693 cr to Haryana and that it also handed the Mann-led state 1.20 lakh machines to deal with the issue, but the government did nothing. The BJP spokesperson asked Kejriwal to respond to the questions and sought to know whether the figures being cited by him were right or not. "If they are right, why should you not resign?" he said.
(With PTI inputs)