Paving way for further political tussle over the issue of setting up of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) within the SAD-BJP alliance, union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday said that some petty-minded leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might have issues with the setting up of the institution here.
Virtually targeting BJP legislator, Manoranjan Kalia, who has raised voice for setting up the premier institution at Jalandhar or a nearby place on his Facebook page, she said that there might be some small petty-minded leaders in the BJP who might have some issues with the AIIMS in Bathinda and they should talk to their government at the Centre. She said that as such there is no issue with the BJP because the BJP-led government at the Centre itself is the authority that is going to sanction the institution.
Taking on the Congress on the issue, she said that the Congress was pursing the policy of divide-and-rule by creating a rift between people of two regions.
Amid the growing war of words over the issue, she said that the Congress, especially its leaders Captain Amarinder Singh and Partap Singh Bajwa would be directly responsible if the AIIMS gets cancelled or gets delayed and is allotted to some other state.
She said that it was shameful that the Congress, which had no issue to raise, has stooped to such a low level that it is resorting to create friction between two regions of the state for political interest.
“They (Congress leaders) are very well aware that the Malwa region is badly hit by cancer. There is no institution where people can get affordable quality treatment. So, the setting up of the AIIMS at Bathinda was need of the hour which would benefit not only this part of Punjab but also parts of neighboring states of Haryana and Rajasthan,” she said.
She asked the Congress leaders from the Malwa region to speak up on the issue and said: “Congress leaders from the Malwa region should make their stand clear whether they want the institution to come up in Bathinda or not.”
Harsimrat added that going by the recent statements of Congress leaders, it seemed the party was anti-Malwa.
“What else can explain the shrill noises being made against the project despite the fact that the express train taking cancer patients to Bikaner for treatment has acquired the sobriquet of cancer express. Do the Congress leaders want cancer patients of Malwa to die for want of treatment”?, she questioned.