Haryana health minister Anil Vij, who seemed to be in a tight spot on the floor of Haryana assembly while explaining the increasing incidence of swine flu in the state, came up with a rather saffron way of tackling the problem while replying to a calling attention motion on the issue on Tuesday, much to the amusement of a majority of MLAs.
“Even Indian way of greeting namaste can help check the spread of swine flu in a major way,” said Vij, who had initially begun his reply on the motion by quoting official data but later went on to make a strong defence of Indian culture and ethos over the western lifestyle.
The calling attention notice was given by a group of MLAs including Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) members Ranbir Gangwa and Hari Chand Midha and Congress’ Kuldeep Sharma.
Vij told the House that it was time that the Indians renounced western culture. “Handshake se kayee bimariyan lagtee hain. Hamein is se tauba karni chahiye aur angreziat chhod deni chahiye (Several diseases are spread through handshakes. We should avoid this practice and renounce other western habits),” he added.
Not only this, Vij further said: “Aur main koyee Hindu dharm ki baat nahi kar raha hoon, koyee haath jod ke Waheguru keh sakta hai, koi ‘God is great’ keh sakta hai ya ‘Allahu Akbar’ keh sakta hai ya sirf haath jod sakta hai (I am not talking about the Hindu religion as a person can fold hands and say Waheguru or ‘God is great’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ or simply make the gesture)”.
Observing that in his view those against ‘Namaste’ were also against health and well-being of the Indians, Vij also sought the response of other members in the House on the issue through a show of hands. He quickly got the support from the treasury benches while leader of the Opposition Abhay Chautala and some Congress MLAs also endorsed his viewpoint.
However, Congress members Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Raghubir Kadian also took a dig at Vij by questioning him why he was “touching” agriculture minister OP Dhankar and why did he shake hands with chief minister ML Khattar when he met them.
Vij also spoke on various steps being taken by the government health centers for prevention and treatment of swine flu and informed the House that so far, 252 swine flu positive cases had been reported in Haryana with 27 deaths.
A maximum of 47 cases were reported in Faridabad district followed by 36 in Hisar, 32 in Gurgaon, 17 in Karnal, 16 in Rohtak, 13 in Yamunanagar, 12 each in Sirsa, Bhiwani and Panchkula, nine each in Ambala and Kurukshetra, eight each in Jhajjar and Jind, six in Sonepat, five in Fatehabad, three in Panipat and two in Rewari and one in Palwal.
Highest toll was reported in Kurukshetra with five deaths. Three deaths each were reported from Palwal and Yamunanagar while two each were reported from Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Hisar, Jind, Karnal. One death each was reported from Fatehabad, Jhajjar, Rewari and Rohtak.”Only Narnaul and Mewat districts reported no cases till date as compared to the previous years when majority of the cases were reported from the NCR districts,” he said.