Even after receiving severe backlash for using children to garner votes for the Lok Sabha election at the beginning of the year, Arvind Kejriwal seems reluctant to change his habitude. In yet another political low, the Delhi chief minister has now used school children for playing politics over pollution.
On Friday, Kejriwal told school children in the city that smoke emanating from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana was causing air pollution in New Delhi and asked them to write letters to chief ministers of the two states urging them to control it.
“Please write letters to ‘Captain uncle’ and ‘Khattar uncle’ and say, ‘Please think about our health’,” he told children as he visited schools to distribute masks to schoolchildren to protect them from the rising pollution levels which have choked Delhi.
A Supreme Court-mandated panel has on Friday declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region and banned construction activity till November 5 as the pollution levels in the region reached the ‘severe plus’ category. According to official data, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 1 pm on Friday was recorded at 480, which falls in the severe category. Schools have been closed till November 5 too.
Kejriwal has blamed Punjab and Haryana governments for severe pollution in Delhi. He has accused the state governments of Haryana and Punjab of forcing their farmers to burn stubble, which he said is the reason behind pollution in the national capital.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today criticised Kejriwal for playing petty politics over air pollution in Delhi and indulging in a blame game by rebuking everybody, including neighbouring states and the Centre.
However, this is not the first time Kejriwal has dragged innocent children into his petty politics. On January 29, the Delhi CM had sought votes for the Lok Sabha elections in the name of children asking parents to choose between their children or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing children and parents at the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya at New Friends Colony, Kejriwal asked the students, present at the event to thank their parents for voting the AAP to power in the Delhi Assembly elections.
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, repeating Kejriwal’s statements had also said, “Someone told me that they will vote for Modi in the election, because ‘Woh achhe lagte hain, I told them that if you love your children, vote for those who are building schools for them. So I’m telling all parents, and asking all children here to go home and ask their parents whether they love you or not. If they say that they love you, tell them to vote for those who are building schools for us.”
In fact, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had then written to Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government reminding them that poll campaigning in schools is ‘bad influence’ on children.