Cong forgot I began India’s Pulse Polio drive: Harsh Vardhan

I am saddened by the partisan attitude of the Manmohan Singh government, said Harsh Vardhan.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 12, 2014 1:54 am
President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a function to celebrate polio eradication on Tuesday. (PTI) President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a function to celebrate polio eradication on Tuesday. (PTI)

The BJP has hit out  at the Congress government in the Centre for failing to mention its leader Harsh Vardhan’s contributions while celebrating the country’s polio-free status.

In a statement, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Harsh Vardhan said, “Government of India organised a mega event at Talkatora Stadium on Tuesday to celebrate India attaining “polio free” status. But it failed to recall the man who began it all — Dr Harsh Vardhan.”

Vardhan claimed that on Gandhi Jayanti in 1994, he as the health minister of Delhi had organised an immunisation drive for nearly 1.2 million children in the capital on a single day and started the Pulse Polio movement in the country.

“The next year, thanks to the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma and A R Antulay, the then Union Health Minister, we successfully roped in all state governments to organise Pulse Polio drives,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Though aggrieved at the Centre for ignoring his contribution to rid the country of polio, Vardhan said, “I don’t want to take personal credit for Pulse Polio, because I believe that visualising it was the easiest part. A programme of such a gigantic dimension — in an age before mobile telephony and internet — would hardly have been possible without the tireless effort of lakhs of doctors, paramedics, government officials, volunteers and other workers.”

“Today, I am saddened by the partisan attitude of the Manmohan Singh government. It did not even invite me to the event. The government insulted not just me, but also the bipartisan spirit which made polio eradication possible. People of all political backgrounds joined hands to make India polio-free and this government has reduced it to a party event,” he said.

However, Vardhan did point out that he did not require the Singh government’s acknowledgement for his role in Pulse Polio.

“I have been given awards by the World Health Organization, the Rotary Foundation, Lions International, Indian Medical Association and dozens of other national and international oganisations. I was twice given Rotary International’s Paul Harris Fellowship and the ‘Polio Eradication Champion Award’ which had earlier been given to former US President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister John Major and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Apart from these, I was bestowed scores of other international and national awards. Even former Prime Minister I K Gujral had rated me as one of the best health ministers of India and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had called me ‘Swasthya Vardhan’,” he said.

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  1. I
    Indus
    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:33 am
    For Congress all good things come from one single family. They trumpet it like anything.To grab somebody's achievements is really cheap
    Reply
  2. S
    Swaminathan
    Feb 12, 2014 at 5:04 am
    Really a wonderful movement......to eradicate India of Polio
    Reply
  3. S
    sb
    Feb 12, 2014 at 8:07 am
    Sheer Plagiarism !! Claim credits without acknowledging the most important person Dr Harsh Vardhan who was behind the pulse-polio campaign.
    Reply
  4. S
    sb
    Feb 12, 2014 at 8:07 am
    Sheer Plagiarism !! Claim credits without acknowledging the most important person Dr Harsh Vardhan who was behind the pulse-polio campaign.
    Reply
  5. R
    Raveendra Reddy
    Feb 12, 2014 at 9:21 am
    This is not surprise, when Rahul hi tried his best take credit for Lokpal bill, when congress party is responsible for not thinking about that for decades. Gr roots, NGOs like Rotary, etc need to be credited more for polio eradication, who worked hard in difficult situations with meager ries.
    Reply
  6. R
    Raveendra Reddy
    Feb 12, 2014 at 9:21 am
    This is not surprise, when Rahul hi tried his best take credit for Lokpal bill, when congress party is responsible for not thinking about that for decades. Gr roots, NGOs like Rotary, etc need to be credited more for polio eradication, who worked hard in difficult situations with meager ries.
    Reply
  7. K
    Kavin Rao
    Feb 12, 2014 at 4:55 am
    Looks like Congress Party has started clutching at Straws...claiming credit for someone ellses achievement! Shame, shame!
    Reply
  8. K
    Kavin Rao
    Feb 12, 2014 at 4:55 am
    Looks like Congress Party has started clutching at Straws...claiming credit for someone ellses achievement! Shame, shame!
    Reply
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