The third day of the ongoing monsoon session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha opened with heated arguments between health minister Anil Vij and Congress legislature party (CLP) leader Kiran Choudhry.
As soon as the Question Hour began, Choudhry asked the health minister as to when the public health centres and community health centres in her assembly constituency Tosham, which were in bad condition, would be repaired. Vij responded by admitting that the centres were in dilapidated condition, but blamed the previous Congress government for it. "The poor state of affairs is primarily because of the previous government's apathy towards the health department," he said.
He then added that the present government was keen to improve the situation and making all-out efforts to improve the doctors' strength as well as the availability of equipment at all the health centres across the state.
The exchange of words turned into a full-fledged verbal duel after Choudhry said that the situation in her constituency was worse as equipment was recently taken back from health centres in Tosham in the same manner as the 75% of the health fund meant for her constituency was withdrawn.
Piqued over her remark, Vij retorted by accusing the Congress leader of not telling the truth. His remark, though expunged by speaker Kanwar Pal from the proceedings of the House, irked her Congress colleagues. Choudhry and other Congress MLAs, including Kuldeep Sharma, Anand Singh Dangi and Karan Singh Dalal, demanded that either Vij apologise for his statement or a privilege motion be brought against him.
The angry Congerss MLAs referred to the government's slogan of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' and asked the speaker and chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar if this was how the BJP tended to respect women.
The House saw heated arguments for about an hour with ministers namely Ram Bilas Sharma, Capt Abhimanyu and other MLAs countering Congress MLAs and backing Vij. The health minister, on his part, insisted that he made the remark as Choudhry was misleading the House by claiming that equipment and funds were being taken back from Tosham constituency which was not true.
As heated arguments between the opposition and the treasury benches continued, Khattar intervened and said that his government respected women and no one had disrespected Choudhry as the remark by Vij was immediately expunged by the speaker. He said the minister's remark was only in the context of the Congress leader's statement that the funds meant for Tosham were being taken back.