Gandhinagar: Congress MLAs staged a walk out during the Gujarat state assembly budget session which commenced here on Monday, after being dissatisfied with Gujarat State Health Minister Nitin Patel's answers to questions about swine flu in the House.
During a discussion on steps taken by the Gujarat government to control swine flu outbreak in the state, Congress MLA Anil Joshiara alleged that state-run hospitals are not equipped to handle the influx of new patients. He also alleged that the Gujarat state government doesn't have enough stock of medicines like Tamiflu tablets.
However, Gujarat State Health Minister Nitin Patel refuted Joshiara's claims and challenged him to prove his allegations or resign. Patel claimed that if Congress MLA Joshiara proved his charges, he would be willing to resign as minister.
Patel also stated that more than 55 per cent of swine flu patients have been cured, though nobody paid attention to that fact.
Unimpressed by Patel's claims, Amreli's Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani alleged that the Gujarat government completely failed to curb the disease in his district.
Dhanani alleged that when Congress workers went to the Amreli District Health Officer (DHO) to inquire about masks to be distributed among the people, the DHO claimed to have said that they are yet to be purchased. Dhanani challenged Patel that he would resign as MLA if Patel could prove him wrong on this issue.
In his reply, Patel refuted Dhanani's claims and said that he had all data to prove the Congress MLA wrong.
The discussion was invoked by the Congress as 'matter of urgent public interest' as per Rule Number 116 of the Gujarat Assembly Rules, for which the in-charge speaker Nimaben Acharya alloted an hour.