Amid the ongoing controversy and opposition attack demanding Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra’s resignation, state cabinet minister Fauja Singh Sarari on Saturday took note of the incident and apologised on behalf of him.
His remarks came after a video went viral in which Punjab Health Minister Jouramajra can be seen directing the vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences to lie down on a spoiled mattress.
The medical official can be seen following the minister’s instructions hesitantly and later the minister lashed at him for the poor conditions of the hospital wards.
“The minister of the state is there to give respect and not to insult. I apologise on his behalf, there should be no interference or pressure by the political leaders on the officers,” said Mr Sarari.
The cabinet minister also added that the state government will also take action against any corrupt practice and ministers and said, “people who have accepted bribe will not be spared, even if it is former minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu.”
The Health Minister’s conduct drew flak from opposition parties who targeted the Bhagwant Mann-led government and asked the chief minister to sack the “power-drunk minister.”
Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa condemned the incident.
“The Chief Minister, Punjab should take a serious note of this unbecoming behaviour of the minister in public view and give him marching orders. Further, Mr Arvind Kejriwal, Convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party, must ponder sincerely and arrange an orientation programme for the AAP workers, MLAs and ministers to make them learn how to behave in the public and avoid spoiling the existing functioning of the government,” read a statement issued by Mr Bajwa.
Another senior Congress leader, Gurjeet Singh Aujla also asked the Punjab Chief Minister to sack the health minister.
“BhagwantMannji, protest resignations by senior doctors is the result of feeble-mindedness and political bankruptcy of the health minister. I suggest an immediate notice of the Minister’s actions. All our doctors deserve respect and it’s the job of @CMOPb to restore it honourably,” tweeted Mr Aujla.
Shiromani Akali Dal leaders also sought the resignation of the state health minister.
“I request CM Bhagwant Mann to dismiss the power drunk health minister Jauramajra for misbehaving with BFUHS VC Dr Raj Bahadur and tender an apology to renowned surgeon besides requesting him to withdraw the resignation. Any delay will demoralise the medical fraternity and jeopardise health services in Punjab,” tweeted former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
She added that the chief Minister should prioritise meeting financial requirements of Baba Farid varsity and retain top medical professionals instead of pushing them out.
“Shiromani Akali Dal extends solidarity with Dr Raj Bahadur, medical professionals and will not allow them to be mistreated in any manner whatsoever,” she added.
Calling the incident a shameful act BJP leader Sunil Jakhar tweeted, “The treatment meted out to distinguished Dr Raj Bhadur is shameful and totally unacceptable. Funds will fix health infrastructure, not uncouth behaviour. Very sad that Dr Raj Bhadur has resigned… Now it’s for @BhagwantMann to do what any conscientious CM ought to do-sack the health minister.”
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