BJP President Amit Shah on Friday defended the illegal and hazardous Gudakhu business of Chhattisgarh’s Health Minister Amar Agrawal and termed it “a rare mistake”. Shah was in Raipur for a meeting with party members to oversee the membership drive.
When asked during a press conference that why the BJP government is ignoring the business of Agrawal that causes oral cancer, Shah retorted: “Aisa lag raha hai aap health minister ki supari lekar aaye ho…when such a big government is being run, some rare mistakes do take place. How can you forget achievements of Chhattisgarh due to one incident?”
While the sale, purchase, storage and production of tobacco is banned and made a punishable offence in Chhattisgarh, Agrawal is involved in the production of Gudakhu, a product of tobacco and decomposed gud (jaggery).
According to the health department, Gudakhu is the biggest cause of oral cancer in the state. Of the total cancer patients, 50 per cent are women, whereas in other states women form less than 30 per cent of such cases. While 35% of total population in the country uses tobacco and related products, in Chhattisgarh, 53% of the people and 28.3% of the children below 15 years use these products.
About the question that the party and government project Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its only face, Shah asserted that there has always been only one leader. “It is a constitutional scheme. If someone questions, it he must read the constitution carefully,” he added.
Earlier, he urged the BJP members to increase the membership of BJP in Chhattisgarh from the present 50000 to 50 lakh. “Every member must make 100 members each so that BJP reaches its goal of 10 crore members in the country and become the world’s largest party,” he told party members.