The Bihar Post

Did Bihar health minister Pandey ignore Nitish’s suggestion to resign over children’s death?

Suspected encephalitis has killed over 170 children in Bihar

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PATNA: There are reports of deepening tension between two NDA partners, the JD-U and the BJP, over the continuing deaths of children from suspected encephalitis which has claimed over 170 deaths in Bihar.

As per reports in the local media, the chief minister Nitish Kumar wants his cabinet colleague and health minister Mangal Pandey to resign on moral grounds but the latter has refused. Pandey is a minister form the BJP quota.

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A report published in hindi.news18.com said the BJP has stood by Pandey over the issue of resignation and described it as a petty politics.

The report quoting unnamed sources says the chief minister suggested health minister Pandey to resign at the moment while promising to “adjust” him soon but the BJP is in no mood to oblige the former.

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The BJP’s logic, media reports add, is that the death of children is not a new thing; rather it has been taking place almost every year and hence the government is required to formulate a long-term plan to prevent outbreak of this disease.

Pandey who formally joined the BJP in 1989 is considered a heavyweight figure who played key roles in ensuring victory of the party in Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh as their election in-charge while also serving as the state president of the BJP.

The health minister had come under fire when he was heard asking about scores in India’s cricket match against Pakistan during a Press conference being held by Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

The main opposition RJD on Tuesday demanded resignation of Pandey on “moral grounds” saying his continuance on the post even after deaths of so many children highlights his gross insensitivity.

“The health minister should immediately resign owing responsibility for deaths of children in Muzaffarpur and around which has earned a bad name for the state,” RJD vice-president Shivanand Tiwari demanded today.

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