Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, February 5. Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Chief Parliamentary Secretary (Health) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu are at loggerheads yet again, this time over participation in an event scheduled to take place in London.
The convention, ‘National Health Service in Emerging India-Transferability and Affordable Healthcare in India’, will be held at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, on February 11.
Talking to The Tribune, Dr Sidhu said she was invited to the event as chief guest and that she had received a formal invitation from the organisers on her e-mail account. She said she had brought the matter to the notice of the Principal Secretary, Health, Vini Mahajan, though she did not have a word with the Health Minister in this regard. Dr Sidhu said later she came to know that the minister himself was participating in the event. She said she had already had a long discussion with the event organisers when they visited India during the recent NRI Sammelan in Punjab.
She said they had held informal deliberations on augmenting health services in Punjab, besides facilitating advanced training to the state’s doctors and nursing staff. On the fate of her visit now, she said she would wait for the state government’s response for a day or two. “If it comes by then I will proceed, otherwise not.”
She said she had tried to approach the Chief Minister directly on the issue, but in vain as he was not keeping well. “I did bring it to the knowledge of the Deputy Chief Minister.”
On the other hand, Mittal said he was unaware whether Dr Sidhu had been invited to the event. However, he made it clear that he was not going in her place. “I am not a thief. I am a gentleman. I have got a separate invitation for the event,” he said.
The minister said Dr Sidhu should either have spoken to him or the BJP’s state president. “She should not flare up the issue by talking about it in the media.”
He said if she had got the invite, she should have gone to the Chief Minister, as it was he who accorded the necessary sanction and not the Principal Secretary, Health.
This is not the first time that the two have locked horns. Earlier, the Health Minister and Dr Sidhu were at daggers drawn after the latter had conducted a couple of sting operations in which she had caught government doctors resorting to private practice while neglecting their official duties.