Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: Gautam Gambhir, the former Indian cricketer-turned-politician, has been known not to pull back any punches. However, the Member of Parliament from East Delhi was embroiled in a debate with the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his offer for financial help to fight the rapidly escalating coronavirus in the Indian capital.

Gambhir, who had donated Rs five million to the Delhi government from his MPLAD fund (Members of Parliament Local Area Fund) to combat the crisis, was peeved that the offer was turned down by the their political rivals Aam Aadmi Party in power.

Offering an additional Rs five million on Monday, Gambhir tweeted: “CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Deputy (Manish Sisodia) say funds are needed. Though their massive egos didn’t allow them to take 50 lakh (five million) from my MPLADS funds earlier, I pledge 50 lakh more so that innocents don’t suffer! (Rs) One crore would at least solve urgent need for masks and PPE kits for days. Hope they prioritize Delhi.”

Responding to the tweet, Kejriwal thanked Gambhir for the offer but said on a somewhat sarcastic note: “Gautamji, thank you for your offer. The problem is not of money but availability of PPE kits. We would be grateful if you could help us get them from somewhere immediately. Delhi government will buy them. Thank you,” Kejriwal said.

Meanwhile, with just few PPE kits left with the hospitals in Delhi, the city government has written to the Centre and has also allowed hospitals to procure the kits from local manufacturers and supliers.

Close to 10 doctors and other medical staff in the city have tested positive for the infection so far.

Earlier, Gambhir has lashed out at those who burst crackers on Sunday evening.

“INDIA, STAY INSIDE! We are still in the middle of a fight. Not an occasion to burst crackers!” Gambhir said on Twitter after it emerged out that firecrackers were burnt in several parts of the country on Sunday evening during the nine-minute period in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked citizens to switch off their lights and light candles and diyas and show solidarity in fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also slammed those who resorted to bursting crackers. “We will find a cure for corona but how are we going to find a cure for stupidity,” Harbhajan tweeted.

The entire sports fraternity had joined the country in showing solidarity in the fight against the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed more than 100 lives in the country.