Three states, three parties and a thickening political fog
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is schedul to meet his Haryana counterpart, Manohar Lal Khattar, here on Wednesday to take up the issue of stubble burning that has had the national capital in the grip of a terrible fog for a fortnight now.
However, the meeting that he has sought with Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is ikely to materialise.
Amarinder, who had turned down Kejriwal’s offer for a meeting last Wednesday, once again snubbed the Delhi CM, saying he failed to understand the point of a discussion knowing well that it would be “meaningless and futile”.
“Kejriwal’s tendency to indulge in petty street politics is well-known,” Singh told HT. “The AAP leader is evidently trying to divert public attention from his own government’s failure in Delhi to check the problem of pollution, as exposed by the response of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the ill-conceived oddeven scheme.”
“Unlike Punjab, the Delhi problem was the result mainly of urban pollution caused by mismanaged transportation and unplanned industrial development,” he added. Instead of focusing on resolving these issues, Kejriwal wanted to waste time holding useless discussions, he said, adding he himself did not have the luxury of so much time.
Singh said stubble burning is not a political issue as Kejriwal was trying to make out, but an economic one crying for economic solutions, which the central government alone is in a position to provide. He said he would pursue with the Centre the matter of compensating farmers to enable them to opt for alternatives to stubble burning.
Kejriwal had tweeted to Singh on Tuesday: “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 three chief ministers have been blaming each other for the fog that has beset the region.
Khattar had called Punjab a “bigger culprit” saying the state had not used “a penny out of ₹98 crore allotted to check farm fires while Haryana used ₹39 crore out of ₹45 crore allotted to it.”