The mention of AIIMS, Darbhanga by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a Saturday event has triggered a war of words between Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav and Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. As the construction of AIIMS in Darbhanga is yet to start, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader took a swipe at the BJP calling it an “invisible development politics”.
Mandaviya on Saturday said the Modi government believes in “politics of development” and not “politics in development” while urging Tejashwi Yadav, who holds the health portfolio in the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government, to provide suitable land for the construction of AIIMS in Darbhanga.
Responding to Mandaviya, Tejashwi asked, “What kind of invisible development politics is this where the Ministry of Health has not yet finalized the site for AIIMS and the respected prime minister is saying that AIIMS has been opened there?”
The Union health minister said the permission for AIIMS Darbhanga was given by the Modi government on September 19, 2020, and the first land was given by the Bihar government on November 3, 2021.
“After this you came to the government and changed this place on April 30, 2023 while doing politics,” Mandaviya said in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter.
To this, Tejashwi said, “From the time period you are describing, till many years before that, the health minister had been of BJP in Bihar. Perhaps you are pointing out their failure.”
What is the controversy?
The state government initially handed over 81 acres of land on the campus of Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) for the proposed AIIMS in November 2021. However, chief minister Nitish Kumar on January 12, 2023, announced that the project will be shifted to a better accessible location. Later, on April 3, 2023, principal secretary of Bihar health department wrote a formal letter to the Union ministry informing them about an alternative land at Ekmi-Shobhan bypass.
In May, the Union ministry of health and family welfare rejected the new site proposed by the Bihar government terming the plot as “unsuitable” and requested the state government to provide an alternative land for the project.
Spotlight back on AIIMS, Darbhanga
During his virtual address to the Panchayati Raj Parishad in West Bengal, Prime Minister Modi mentioned the proposed hospital while underscoring that premier health centres were set up in all parts of the country to ensure that people did not have to travel long distances for medical treatment.
Tejashvi Yadav accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘safed jhooth‘ (blatant lie).
“It is an outright lie on part of the PM to have made a mention of AIIMS at Darbhanga, which is yet to be constructed. He reminds me of Union Home Minister Amit Shah who some time ago boasted of Purnea airport, which is far from functional, as one of the achievements of the government,” Yadav told PTI video.
“The fact is, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had taken the initiative for AIIMS, Darbhanga and a piece of land, suitably located just a few kilometres from a national highway, was also allocated. But the Centre threw a spanner by claiming the location of the land was not convenient,” he added.