New Delhi, Nov 14, 2017 : Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, has said refused to meet his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who had tweeted him this morning requesting an appointment to discuss the deadly smog that has enveloped Delhi for more than a week. Mr Singh has reiterated his stand that a meeting will be of no use.
Arvind Kejriwal has blamed the burning of crop stubble by farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana as the major cause of the spiking pollution in Delhi. "Sir, I am coming to Chandigarh on Wed to meet Haryana CM. Would be grateful if u cud spare sometime to meet me. It is in collective interest," the Delhi chief minister had tweeted to Amarinder Singh, who had last week called Mr Kejriwal a "peculiar person with views on everything but no understanding."
The Punjab Chief Minister’s reply this evening was tweeted by his media adviser Raveen Thukral, who said, "Stop politicising the #pollution issue, you know any meeting between us would be useless, and in any case now that the apex court is also seized of the matter, let us leave it to them and the central govt to find long-term solutions."
Tomorrow, Mr Kejirwal is set to meet ML Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana, with whom an appointment was fixed after a strange back-and-forth; both said publicly that while they were willing to meet, the other side seemed unavailable.
Mr Kejriwal finally tweeted that "Khattarji had called" and he would travel to Chandigarh on Wednesday to meet him. He also pointedly said that Mr Khattar had refused to meet him while on a two-day visit to Delhi this week.
Mr Khattar had said earlier: "I will be in Delhi on Monday and Tuesday. There is no response from your office on meeting." Attaching an ndtv.com story on Mr Khattar’s response, the Delhi Chief Minister tweeted, "Sir, my office is constantly trying to fix meeting."
The exchanges began after Arvind Kejriwal said he had written to both the other chief ministers requesting to meet them, but had not been given appointments. Both Amarinder Singh and ML Khattar have accused Mr Kejriwal of attempting to politicise the issue of pollution. Amarinder Singh, also called Captain, has asserted that a meeting of chief ministers will serve no purpose and has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.
The chief ministers’ spat and public sparring has been criticised by experts as a distraction from what has been described by doctors as a public health crisis in Delhi -- a thick cloud of toxic smog 10 times the recommended limit.
The smog has been blamed on dust from construction, vehicle exhaust and the illegal crop burning in the neighbouring states.