In the months of April and May, India grappled with the devastating second wave of Covid-19. Now, with the speculations about the inevitability of the third wave of Covid-19, the central government has revised the Covid-19 vaccination guidelines in the country. Under the new centralised vaccine policy, India on June 21 (Monday) administered more than 80 lakh vaccine doses, the highest in a single day. However, Delhi, which was one of the worst-hit states by the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, remained to be one of the worst performers in the country-wide inoculation drive.
Going by its penchant to cover up its failures by spending a lot of public money on advertisements, the AAP government in Delhi, this time too, resorted to a lavish PR campaign to make Arvind Kejriwal look good in the public’s eyes.
Today several national dailies carried a full first page advertisement by the Delhi govt, asking people to get vaccinated. While now the entire vaccination program is run by the central govt, the Delhi government tried to get credit for the same by appealing to the people to get registered at the CoWIN portal to get vaccinated.
Below is the first page of Times of India today, which carried the full page advertisement with Arvind Kejriwal’s photo.
The same full page advertisement appeared on the first page of several other news papers like Hindustan Times, Hindi daily Hindustan etc.
Netizens slam Arvind Kejriwal
Slamming Arvind Kejriwal for his incompetence and ineptitude in carrying out the Covid vaccination drive in the city, Netizens shared screenshots of full-page ads that the AAP government has invested in to create a false perception of its achievements.
“@ArvindKejriwal has to appear in Ads costing hundreds of crores even after getting severe rap on the knuckles. This is today’s TOI front page. Delhi Gov is at a loss to administer adequate number of vaccines provided by Central Gov but Kejriwal wants front page publicity”, Tweeted one Kishore Vaid as he shared the screenshot of AAP government’s full front page ad in today’s Times of India.
@ArvindKejriwal has to appear in Ads costing hundreds of crores even after getting severe rap on the knuckles.— Kishore Vaid 🇮🇳 (@KishoreVaid) June 24, 2021
This is today’s TOI front page.
Delhi Gov is at a loss to administer adequate number of vaccines provided by Central Gov but Kejriwal wants front page publicity. pic.twitter.com/1J6Kzhr6FE
The social media user pointed out how Kejriwal has been giving full-page ads in various newspapers, trying to take credit for the free vaccines which actually the central government is providing to all states and union territories under the Centre’s free vaccination for all adults programme.
BJP leader S.Vishnu Vardhan Reddy tweeted that while the same campaign is being run by the central govt on govt websites, which require no additional cost, the Delhi CM is running the campaign on the front pages of national dailies spending huge amounts of money.
The BJP leader also noted that the ad given by the Arvind Kejriwal is targeted at Punjab elections.
A Twitter user Arun (@arunpudur) slammed the Kejriwal government for not spending a dime on the procurement of Covid vaccinations but spending crores on its PR campaign.
Arvind Kejriwal didn’t buy one vaccine for Delhi. But is spending hundreds of crores on ads promoting himself.— Arun 🇮🇳 (@arunpudur) June 24, 2021
How shameless one must be to do this? pic.twitter.com/OOHVn3HvHq
Likewise, another user pointed out the Kejriwal government’s hypocrisy.
RTI reveals Arvind Kejriwal spent Rs 150 crore on ads in the first 3 months of 2021
Interestingly, an RTI reply dated April 08 had revealed how the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has spent Rs 150 crores from January 2021 to March 2021 on advertisements and publicity through various mediums.
The RTI reply uploaded by a Twitter user Alok Bhatt revealed Rs 32.52 crores were spent on ads by the AAP government in January 2021, Rs 25.33 crores were spent in February 2021 and a whopping Rs 92.48 crores were spent in March 2021. This averages to Rs 1.67 crore daily when the health infrastructure in the national capital had begun to crumble amid the second wave of coronavirus.
Further, Kejriwal government has spent over 800 crores in advertisement expenses in past two years.
Kejriwal Government set aside Rs 50 crores for free vaccination of Delhi residents while allocating 150 crores for PR
Speaking about the vaccination drive, for which the AAP government has been pushing the blame on the central government, OpIndia reported how the Kejriwal government had set aside a meagre amount of Rs 50 crores for free vaccination of Delhi residents as compared to a hefty amount of Rs 150 crores it allocated for advertising and marketing itself.
Its imperative to note here that Delhi has remained one of the worst-hit states, during both the first and the second wave of the Covid outbreak. There were shortages of isolation beds, ICU beds, medicinal oxygen, key antiviral drugs, including remdesivir. Despite this, since the onslaught of the pandemic, the Arvind Kejriwal government has spent most of its time resorting to playing petty politics, lying and spreading rumours in an attempt to portray the BJP government in poor light.
AAP government blames the centre for its poor vaccination efforts
After playing petty politics over the oxygen crisis in the national capital, the AAP government has begun diverting attention from its poor vaccination efforts by shifting goalposts.
In fact, on June 21, when India secured a milestone in the Coronavirus vaccination drive, administers over 86 lakh doses in a single day, Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia whined that the Delhi government has so far not received any free vaccine for the 18-45 age group from the central government.
Amusing he accused the Union government of spending public money on advertising its renewed pan-India vaccination drive, instead of using the money to procure more vaccine doses. However, the fact remains that contrary to the AAP government’s claims, Kejriwal is the one who has been busy spending crores on his own publicity and advertisements, caring least for the unparalleled Covid-19 crisis in the city.