Toxic Air, But Enough Oxygen for Politics: AAP-BJP Play Blame Game

As Delhi suffocates under a blanket of smog, state & Centre spar over who’s most to blame – here’s how that’s going.

4 min read
Toxic Air, But Enough Oxygen for Politics: AAP-BJP Play Blame Game

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) exchanged barbs and accusations as Delhi's severe pollution crisis entered yet another day — without a concrete solution in sight. With AAP's flagship Odd-Even Scheme starting in Delhi today, BJP leader Vijay Goel protested by flouting the rules – and paying the Rs 4,000 fine for driving his odd-numbered car – saying, "This scheme is a gimmick."

Intervening in the tussle, the Supreme Court on 4 November said that Centre and Delhi must act on the issue, and shouldn't "blame each other." The Court also pulled up the governments over the crisis and the ensuing blame game by saying, "It is not the way we can live."

“It is not the way we can live. “Centre should do.. state should do” can’t go on. This is too much. No room is safe to live in this city, even in homes. We are losing precious years of our lives due to this.”
Supreme Court as per ANI reports

In case you've been too busy tackling the illnesses brought on by Delhi's air pollution to pay attention to what our politicians have been up to, worry not. Here's a lowdown on the back-and-forth between AAP and BJP on Delhi's air — and what they've done to tackle the issue.


Why Didn’t Prakash Javadekar Attend Meetings, Asks AAP’s Atishi

In a tweet thread, AAP leader Atishi Marlena questioned the BJP's commitment to reduce air pollution and asked why Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar postponed three meetings with Environment Ministers of three states.

She also said that despite the SC recognising that stubble burning was a major cause of air pollution in Delhi, the Centre had done nothing to resolve the issue. She also questioned Prakash Javadekar on why so few Happy Seeder machines have been distributed to farmers in Punjab and Haryana as alternatives to burning stubble.

How Many CPCB Directions Has AAP Followed, Javadekar Responds

Slamming the AAP government for Delhi’s air pollution, Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar asked AAP to reveal whether it was following the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) directives.

He responded to Atishi’s allegation by saying that his ministry has already held several meetings with the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan over stubble burning. According to PTI, he said,

“Pollution is a genuine problem. When I became the environment minister, I called a meeting of all five states regarding the issue. Seven to eight such meetings have already been held. Another one will happen soon.”

AAP’s Manish Sisodia had also said that “40,000 machines provided by the Centre to curb stubble burning cannot help 22 lakh farmers.”

Javadekar hit back, saying that the Narendra Modi government has thrown Rs 1,100 crore at the problem. He said, “Instead of spending Rs 1,500 crore on advertisements, the Delhi government should give this amount to farmers to address the issue of pollution,” reports PTI.

Odd-Even Is a Gimmick, Says BJP’s Vijay Goel...

The Odd-Even Scheme has been implemented in Delhi from 4 November, and BJP leader Vijay Goel decided to flout the rule by leaving from his house in an odd-numbered car. Calling it a “symbolic protest,” Goel said,

“I am doing this as a symbolic protest against the Kejriwal government’s failure to do anything in five years to curb the pollution in Delhi. It is now enacting a drama and election stunt in view of the coming Assembly polls through the Odd-Even Scheme.”

Goel was accompanied by BJP vice president Shyam Jaju and other party leaders in a saffron SUV before he was issued a challan of Rs 4,000 by traffic cops near Janpath.

The back of Goel’s car said ‘pradushan ki zimmedar Kejriwal sarkar, odd-even hai bekar’ (‘Kejriwal’s government is responsible for pollution, odd-even scheme is useless’) and termed the scheme “a drama.” He also said that Kejriwal’s government had wasted money on advertising and had done nothing to combat pollution.

...BJP Is Against Clean Air, AAP Replies

Responding to Goel’s violation of the Odd-Even Scheme, Atishi said that BJP is “against clean air.”

She also tweeted that BJP could ask Prakash Javadekar to do some election stunts of his own:

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the BJP leader's job was simply to do politics and he had no solution to the problem, reports PTI. He said if Goel was so concerned about the people of Delhi, then he should have asked Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to convene a meeting with the states to deal with the menace of air pollution.

“Now when there are clouds of pollution over Delhi, he (Goel) says he will break the Odd-Even rule. People of Delhi have stopped construction of their houses, let him start construction, they (people) have stopped using generators, let him do that. It is his wish. If he wants to spread pollution, let him do that.”
Manish Sisodia, reports PTI

In a tweet, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal clarified that people of Delhi were “suffering for no fault of theirs” and that the “Centre should take immediate steps to provide relief.”


As politicians battle it out over who’s to blame and who has done more to tackle the toxic air in Delhi, the city’s citizens and their deteriorating health are the biggest losers.

What will it take for the politicians to stop pointing fingers at each other and take serious action instead?

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