The opposition BJP members walked out of the Rajasthan Assembly for the second successive day on Tuesday expressing dissatisfaction over government steps to control the spread of swine flu. They alleged that the official measures were insufficient and had failed to prevent a large number of deaths across the State.
The matter came up during Question Hour when three BJP MLAs sought to know the number of persons found positive with symptoms of H1N1 virus infection and those who had died of the disease. They also asked for information on preventive steps as well as the norms for establishing swine flu testing laboratories.
Medical and Health Minister Aimaduddin Ahmed Khan's reply failed to convince the questioners, who said he was “beating about the bush” and demanded that the Government come clean about its plans for dealing with the dreaded disease.
Mr. Khan's reply, running into 13 pages, consumed more than half of the Question Hour. The BJP members – Mohanlal Gupta, Kalicharan Saraf and Bhawani Singh Rajawat – who had asked the question, listed as the first item in the day's schedule, protested against “jugglery of facts and figures” and an attempt to mislead the House.
The Minister admitted that 3,361 patients had been found suffering from H1N1 influenza and 196 had died till March 9.
When Mr. Khan said there were indications that the global pharmaceutical companies had a “vested interest” in swine flu being declared a pandemic disease in the developing countries, the BJP MLAs created a din saying the international propaganda had nothing to do with the measures expected of the State Government to control its spread.
Mr. Khan said several international newspapers had raised the issue of the World Health Organisation allegedly getting money from influential drug manufacturers on the pretext of conducting research on H1N1 influenza virus.
With the Question Hour nearing its end, the BJP members registered their protest against the Minister's reply with the allegation that he was trying to evade his responsibility and walked out.