Union Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari today pulled up Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for complaining to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not being invited to foundation stone-laying ceremony of the centrally-funded super-specialty hospital - an extension of Chandigarh's Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) - at Sangrur.
Tewari, who was also at Sangrur for the event told said he was surprised at Badal's angst as people who possibly have a right to complain are the MPs and the ministers of Punjab who are treated as complete outsiders by the state government.
He further added that never ever has any Punjab Member of Parliament or, forget a union minister, been invited for any programme of the state government where the union government contributes substantively.
Tewari also used the occasion to highlight the economic condition of Punjab, presently ruled by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance government.
(Manish Tewari said MPs and ministers of Punjab are treated as completed outsiders by state
government. File Photo)
"Everybody knows as to what the economic condition of Punjab is. The state is dithering on the brink of bankruptcy. If it would not be for the sustained central help which has been coming all along not withstanding the conflicting stands which the Punjab Government takes in Delhi and the moment they cross the border of Punjab," said Tewari.
Badal had shot off an angry letter to the prime minister on Wednesday, saying that he had not been invited to the event where a major cancer hospital is to be inaugurated in Punjab and to be attended by Rahul Gandhi.
The chief minister has in his letter said that not inviting Punjab's Akali Dal government to the event was a violation of the federal system but Tewari today asked when MPs and ministers of Punjab are being treated as complete outsiders by state government. Is that not violation of the federal spirit?
Later in the day, the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government decided to boycott the event.
(A file photo of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad)
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad attended the inauguration of the 500-bed cancer hospital in Sangrur today, to be run by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.