The Congress on Friday accused Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb of violating the model code of conduct ahead of the bye-election at Badharghat assembly constituency on September 23.
Addressing a press conference here this evening, state Congress leader Subal Bhowmik said that his party has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against the CM for distributing sports materials to social clubs and announcing a new state-sponsored health insurance scheme in the lines of national flagship health insurance – Ayushman Bharat.
“It is barely a few days to go for the by-polls when our chief minister distributed sports goods to clubs in the assembly constituency which would undergo elections. He also announced a new health scheme. These are essentially sops, designed to attract voters, and by violating the model code of conduct. We have lodged a complaint against the CM with the Election Commission”, Bhowmik told reporters.
Bye-election at Badharghat constituency was necessitated after sitting MLA – Dilip Sarkar, passed away before the completion of the first year of his current term. Sarkar was a five-time MLA and former minister.
Bhowmik added that his party hopes the Election Commission would take necessary step regarding the purported violation of election norms and serve the CM a show-cause notice. However, he added that his party would continue to protest against the issue.
On ‘Ayushman Tripura’ scheme, the Congress leader said, “This new scheme will be implemented in insurance-mode. Government hospitals would provide services to people in exchange for our own money if this project comes through. We have come to know about six recent cases where patients were not provided free health services”. Earlier on September 6, the Department of Health and Family Welfare issued a notification revising public healthcare tariff rates and imposing a new tariff on critical healthcare requirements like Intensive Care Unit (ICU), oxygen cylinders among others.
Five days after the notification was issued, Deb, who is also in charge of the Health Department, clarified that the notification had some “errors”. He said the errors were rectified in the final draft and new tariff rates would come in force only after an “operational notification” is issued.
The clarification hasn’t quelled the discontent of opposition CPI(M) and Congress, which claim the BJP-IPFT government is on to impose hefty tariffs on public health services, thus rendering it out of reach for the common masses.