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death: AAP, BJP engage in slugfest over capital’s Covid-19 deaths


New Delhi: The political slugfest between the AAP-led Delhi government and BJP, which governs the Centre and the NCR’s three municipal corporations, has surged even as the national capital continued its grim battle with Covid-19.

The latest flashpoint was over the number of pandemic deaths, with the municipal corporation accusing the AAP government of hiding the real figure. Delhi’s North, South and East corporations, where BJP has a majority, accused the Delhi government of under-reporting Covid-19 deaths.

The corporations, which control the crematoria and are the city’s official record keepers of births and deaths, have pegged the death count at 2,098 as against Delhi government’s figure of 984.

Speaking to ET, North Delhi Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Jai Prakash said: “Delhi government is hiding deaths due to Covid-19. As per our municipal records, 2,098 deaths have occurred in the city because of Covid.”

Giving a break-up of deaths, Prakash said, 1,080 deaths were reported in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, 976 in North Delhi Municipal Corporation and 42 in East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

When asked how the corporations had differentiated between ‘normal’ cremations and burials from ones caused by Covid-19, Prakash said: “All crematoria are under corporations and we get daily data. There is a specific protocol followed in case of Covid-19 deaths.

A hospital team comes wearing personal protective equipment and a separate slip is furnished mentioning cause of death. As per this, we know 2,098 deaths have taken place.” BJP-run corporations have also accused the Delhi government of preventing burial grounds under Delhi Wakf Board from sharing data.

“The toll can be even higher. We do not have updated statistics from burial grounds,” Prakash said. AAP MP Sanjay Singh brushed aside allegations and said there was an audit committee of doctors to analyse every death. “These doctors are not AAP functionaries.

They are absolutely independent. BJP should refrain from such petty politics when the country is facing an unprecedented health crisis.” Both parties have consistently locked horns over Delhi government’s Covid-19 management.

Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyender Jain had attacked the Centre when they blamed health ministry-run Ram Manohar Lohia for giving ‘wrong’ and ‘delayed’ results and blamed the Centre for not ‘doing its job seriously’. BJP hit back by calling Delhi government’s Corona app as ‘a fraud on people’.

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