Days after he stoked a controversy with his “surprise inspection” of Patna’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, RJD chief Lalu Prasad is at it again. He has instructed the Darbhanga district civil surgeon to reinstate Mamata workers whose services had been discontinued by the health department recently, an issue picked up by the Opposition to slam his leadership by “proxy”.
The issue came to light after the civil surgeon, Dr Sriram Singh, wrote a letter to the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital’s (DMCH) medical superintendent Monday, referring to “telephonic instructions” from Lalu, and seeking their immediate reinstatement.
Mamata staff are trained workers hired on contract and deputed in maternity wards.
Dr Singh wrote that following “telephonic instructions from RJD president Lalu Prasad, Mamata workers should be reinstated immediately”. He said health services in the district would be affected unless these workers are reinstated. Dr Singh marked a copy of his letter to the district magistrate, Bihar Rajya Swasthya Samiti executive director, the health department’s principal secretary, and the RJD supremo. No copy was marked to Tej Pratap Yadav, the state health minister and Lalu’s elder son.
The state health department later summoned Dr Singh for mentioning Lalu’s name in an official communiqué.
While Lalu did not find anything wrong with his call to the civil surgeon, as the Mamata workers had approached him and their services are required to “boost health facilities”, BJP accused him of being a “shadow minister” and “proxy” for Tej Pratap. BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said, “This is the second instance of interference by Lalu Prasad in health matters. His minister-son does a vanishing act in the Assembly and the father does proxy for son.”
JD(U) spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said: “Not much should be read into such letters… It is common in politics.”
Dr Singh said: “It (the issue) is not about me. It concerns administrative matters of DMCH.”