NEW DELHI: Delhi’s politics was played out in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as the House took up the debate on pollution in Delhi.
Many BJP members from Delhi claimed that the Odd-Even road rationing scheme of the AAP government to control pollution was a gimmick. Incidentally, most of the parliamentarians were not in the House when the debate on air pollution and climate change was in progress.
The BJP MP from West Delhi, Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, attacked the Delhi government, saying that a major reason for pollution was the lack of any policy on the part of the Delhi government to deal with the issue.
Verma slammed the AAP government for blaming stubble burning for pollution in the National Capital Region and ignoring major pollutants, including vehicles and dust. By blaming villagers for pollution, Kejriwal was only widening the urban-rural divide, he said.
Taking a jibe at Kejriwal’s health, Verma said that the AAP chief used to be seen coughing before he came to power, but after five years of his government’s rule, entire Delhi was coughing due to the hazardous air quality.
“What he has given to Delhi is that five years ago he was coughing alone, now entire Delhi is coughing. All that he has given to Delhi for free is pollution,” Verma said.
The Aam Aadmi Party was quick to react to the jibe. “By taking cheap potshots at the chief minister’s personal health, Parvesh Verma has demonstrated that he has lost all semblance of parliamentary manners,” said AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha.
Manoj Tiwari, the MP from north-east Delhi, said that the Delhi government should have provided funds for sprinklers, which can help combat pollution. “However, it did not do so. Eventually, the funds came from the Narendra Modi-led Central government,” he said.
Cricketer-turned-MP Gautam Gambhir, who recently faced flak because of his absence from a standing committee meeting, said that long-term and sustainable solutions were needed and knee-jerk solutions such as the Odd-Even scheme would not suffice. “Merely penalising farmers for burning stubble is not enough, we have to give them alternatives,” he said.
Lawmakers from other parties also expressed concern about the pollution, citing studies by various agencies. Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Das Dastidar was seen wearing a mask in the House.
She said that people in India deserved the right to breathe clean air, and asked, “Why can’t we have a ‘Swachh Hawa Mission’, just like the ‘Swach Bharat Mission?”