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Competitive theatrics leaves Delhi ruined

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By Sidharth Mishra

The relationship between the Centre and the Delhi government is increasingly coming to remind one of the Tom and Jerry cartoon shows. The two cartoon chracater created in the United States in the 1940s-50s, related to fights between Tom, a house cat and Jerry, a mouse. The plot of the several successful short films which were made centred on Tom and Jerry trying to get the better of one another, and in the process bringing chaos and ruin all around.

The game of oneupmanship between the Centre and the city government has indeed turned governance of the national Capital into a Tom and Jerry show. Delineating the traits of two chatacters, a cinema scholar once wrote, “Despite Tom’s clever strategies (whether they work or not), determined and energetic mindset, large size, and exceptional overall intelligence, he rarely succeeds in getting the best of Jerry, mainly because of Jerry’s cunning abilities, luck, and his lack of tendencies in being a bit too reckless.”

Can anything better explain the relatinship between the Narendra Modi-led Government at the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government. This analogy was amplified best in the Prime Minister’s interaction with the Chief Ministers, where Kejriwal went live streaming getting the Prime Minister’s goat. Despite the Centre’s best efforts at getting grip of the national Capital, which included passing a law in Parliament, Delhi government has so far managed to give it a slip.

First it was on the issue of ‘lack of oxygen’ and now it is ‘shortage of vaccines’. Kejriwal’s clever manoeuvring has allowed him to get away with mayhem, despite the funeral pyres having put the city on fire, as he managed to tell the courts that people were dying gasping for oxygen, which the Centre had failed to provide.

Such pathological hatred exists between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre that they even chose to draw daggers on the ‘Singapore variant’ of Corona virus. Kejriwal took to social media warning against the ‘Singapore variant’ which naturally was contested by the Singaporean government. The Indian government could have handled Kejriwal’s out of turn speak in a far better manner than Foreign Minister S Jaishankar rebuking Delhi Chief Minister in public.

No sooner than the rebuke came, the Aam Aadmi Party upped the ante claiming that the Delhi Government has every right to protect its citizens, especially since health is a State subject. Having said that health is a state subject, one must ask Delhi government’s vision on virus control and vaccination other than blaming the Centre for all the woes of the citizens of Delhi.

With Narendra Modi’s style of governance coming to be largely associated with chest-thumping histrionics, its increasingly getting difficult for the Prime Minister to rein in rivals who are equally good at the art of  hystrenics be it Mamata Banrejee in West Bengal or Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi. It goes without saying that competitive theatrics practised in the name of politics has left people ruined, at least one can say it safely for the national Capital.

Kejriwal has now started to counsel people on the medication for black fungus infection. He should not be doing this as ‘jugaad’ (makseshift) therapy for the Covid patients has largely been at the root of the new ailment. The issue has been flagged by a much respected faculty of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Prof Uma Kumar, who has asked, “Is this Covid playing with the immunity to invite mucormycosis or is it due to the use of industrial oxygen?”

After the human catastrophe, which has left no one untouched, the leaders for once could be honest and atone for the man-made calamity rather that playing out one act after another on the political stage.

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) 


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