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Kejriwal grandstands over Delhi’s ‘improved’ rank in list of world’s best cities even as coronavirus cases soar amid pollution woes

Against the gloomy background of soaring coronavirus cases and worsening air quality, Kejriwal's congratulatory tweet, boasting over the city's advancement in the ranking struck a jarring note.

Delhi is in throes of a renewed bout of an inexorable coronavirus outbreak. The number of infections being recorded in the national capital has assumed epic proportions, attributed partly to the plummeting temperatures and the alarming increase in city’s air pollution. 

However, amidst this acute crisis besieging Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has not shied away from grandstanding about the improvement in the ranking of the city amongst the world’s best cities. 

On Sunday, AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal posted a piece of “good news” for all Dilliwalas. Retweeting Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s post, Kejriwal wrote, “Such a good news for all Dilliwalas. All dilli walas have worked so hard in the last six years to make it happen. The world is noticing the positive changes happening in Delhi.”

Sisodia had shared an annual report of the best cities in the world saying, “Congratulations to all the proud people of Delhi and @ArvindKejriwal for the leadership. Our beloved Delhi is ranked 62 in World’s Best cities. The only Indian city in the list,” tweeted Delhi’s Deputy CM.

The deputy chief minister of Delhi also claimed that this is that there is a significant improvement from the past ranking, which was 81 earlier. 

A report of the same was also shared by the official Twitter handle of the Aam Aadmi Party.

The ranking was carried out by a certain Resonance Consultancy Ltd, which granted the national capital 62nd position, making it the only Indian city to feature in the list. According to the reports, the ranks have been given to 100 cities from across the world with a population of over 10 lakh. The ranking was based on the basis of 25 factors, including social media hashtags, number of check-ins, diversity, tourist attractions, weather and more. It also included factors like Covid-19 infections in July, income incongruity and unemployment.

Improvement in ranking belies the on-ground situation in Delhi

While Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his associates were busy gloating over the marked improvement in Delhi’s ranking in the list of best cities in the world, the dire coronavirus crisis in the national capital belied the standing conferred upon it by the Resonance Consultancy Ltd. 

The COVID-19 crisis in Delhi was so grim that the chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had written a letter to the centre seeking permission to once again impose lockdown in the city. However, just a day later, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain allayed the suspicions among Delhi residents that the city might undergo another period of lockdown. 

Against this gloomy background, Kejriwal’s congratulatory tweet, boasting over the city’s advancement in the ranking struck a jarring note. The appalling air quality, the continued surge in coronavirus cases, makes one question the authenticity of the ranking themselves. This was also highlighted by several netizens who were furious that Delhi Chief Minister was busy preening oneself over the improvement in the rankings even as the situation on the ground continued to deteriorate. 

One of the Twitter users slammed Arvind Kejriwal claiming that the Delhi CM is lying about the city. The user shared a report published in Dainik Bhaskar in which the High Court had said that even as bodies were being cremated in the night, and burial sites were being overwhelmed, the Delhi government did nothing to address the concerns. 

Another Twitter user wondered if 62nd rank was the last ranking in the list given that Delhi has become a hotspot of coronavirus outbreak and it is being among the cities with the worst air quality index. 

One Twitter user highlighted the gross incongruencies that cast doubt on the credibility of the rankings altogether.

The Twitter user said that the pollution in Delhi is at the peak, it has recorded the highest number of coronavirus patients in the last 1 month, the number of people begging on a traffic signal is highest in Delhi and it registers the highest number of crimes in a city and yet stands 62nd on the list of world’s best cities.

Delhi continues to be afflicted by coronavirus outbreak and worsening air quality

Delhi is witnessing a third surge in the number of COVID-19 caseloads even as most of India’s numbers are showing a steady decline. Since the last week of October, Delhi’s coronavirus cases have been increasing at an alarming rate. 

In the last 24 hours alone, Delhi has recorded 6,746 new Covid-19 cases taking the total number of cases in the state to 5,29,863, according to the Delhi health department on Sunday. In the month of November, 1,759 fatalities were recorded, an average of 83 deaths per day.

Besides the scourge of coronavirus pandemic, Delhi is also facing worsening air quality index. The AQI of Delhi continues to remain poor as a thick layer of smog envelopes the national capital. The government agencies have said that the AQI is likely to deteriorate further due to unfavourable meteorological conditions. 

The city’s 24-hour average AQI was 274 on Sunday It was 251 on Saturday, 296 on Friday, 283 on Thursday and 211 on Wednesday. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. 

Even as the coronavirus pandemic afflicts Delhi and the city’s air quality continues to nosedive, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputies are toiling hard, not to contain the outbreak and control the air pollution, but to cover up the mess caused by their ineptitude and incompetence. Patting themselves on the back for Delhi’s improvement in the ‘dubious’ rankings of the world’s best cities is simply an exercise to that end.

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