AMRITSAR: The ongoing verbal spat between state’s Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Chief Parliamentary secretary Health Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of 'fancy' MP from Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu has exposed the ills in Bhartiya Janta Party. Sharing power with Akalis in the state, the BJP had been facing worst of its kind factionalism within from time to time but present crisis shows declining moral values in the party that claims to be the 'party with a difference’.
The opposition Congress party has rightly stepped in and stated that their stand on corruption and mismanagement of the health system in the state is vindicated by the fact that Sidhu wants to carry the whip in her hand to correct anomalies but leaders like Mittal and others would not like it to happen. Though Sidhu herself is not above board and she and her husband had been shielding 'tainted' persons in Amritsar and outside, she was right to act against the erring government doctors who had been doing private practice at the cost of their work in government hospitals.
BJP’s concern today is just to stay in power and grab prime posts with no visible accountability. State head of the party Ashwani Sharma is himself fighting to keep his own post in hand and has no plan or organizational capacity to shut their leaders’ mouth. The party is today vertically divided and the effects are creeping downward to the cadre level. In absence of any tall leader who could use his or her influence to discipline its leaders, it is one for all in the party having a known history of group-fighting.
The health system in the state is in a shambles. The BJP had got many health ministers, including former minister Laxami Kanta Chawla and if wanted, could deliver wonders. Despite her five years long tenure, Chawla failed to put life into the 'corrupt', 'mismanaged' and 'dying' health system in the state, though she was in news for conducting raids here and there but nothing was done to strengthen and institutionalize the health sector to the benefit of the poor.
Dr. Sidhu is also following similar tactics to stay in news and carrying out raids as it grabs headlines and she is already in competition with her publicity hungry husband to make news. The need is to improve the health infrastructure and making the doctors and government staff responsible. While the private hospitals and nursing homes are minting money, government doctors even after getting handsome salaries are often seen shirking work and people are left to fend for themselves.
Visit any hospital in the state, especially in border areas and one will find unoccupied doctors' chairs and peons and fourth class employees basking in the sun and advising the poor patients to go to private clinics as the doctor is on leave and there are no medicines available to distribute.
BJP national general secretary and in charge Punjab affairs Shanta Kumar was busy in Himachal elections and is yet to meet the shock that is waiting for him in his own state where the party is witnessing internal storm of factionalism.