Shatrughan Sinha Blames Tobacco Lobby for his Exit from Health Ministry

Shatrughan Sinha with Mauritius High Commissioner and others at AIIMS in Patna on Monday.

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Patna: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former film star Shatrughan Sinha on Monday inaugurated the sixth foundation day of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Patna in the presence of Mauritius High Commissioner Jagdishwar Goburdhun, Janata Dal – U leader Shyam Rajak and senior hospital officials.

Sinha also handed out silver and bronze medals to a number of MBBS students for topping in various exams and winning in a host of national and international competitions.

On the occasion, Mauritius High Commissioner Jagdishwar Goburdhun said that his country had reached an agreement with Patna AIIMS under which doctors from Patna will be able to go to Mauritius and gain experience in medical field while doctors from Mauritius would visit Patna AIIMS to perform medical services for a short period of time.

"This will allow exchange of ideas in the field of health care between Patna and Mauritius that has its root in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh," the High Commissioner said adding people of his country were attached to Bihar through Bhojpuri language which is common in his country.

"One should never forget his mother tongue because it is this language that connects people to their own kind. The language is like our mother and must be respected as such by all," he said.

Sinha, speaking about his term as the Union Health Minister in the Vajpayee government, said that he was the victim of the tobacco lobby because of his stern anti-smoking and anti-tobacco stand.

"It was due to the pressure by the tobacco lobby that I was shifted from the Health Ministry to another Ministry," the former Bollywood star said.

The BJP leader, who is also the MP from Patna Saheb, said that it was he who had proposed six new AIIMS across the nation to improve medical treatment in the country.

"It was I who, as the Health Minister of India in 2002, had decided to open six AIIMS in the 'Bimaru' (ailing) states. Due to the red tape in the government, however, it took nearly 10 years for the Patna AIIMS to come up but today I am proud to be here taking part in the sixth foundation day celebration of this prestigious institute," Sinha said.

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