Naveen 'lacks focus' on Odisha's future: Rahul Gandhi

Cuttack: Taking a jibe at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for spurt in infant deaths at Sishu Bhavan here, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today said the state government "lacks focus" on key sectors like health care and education.

"I found the doctors are working sincerely and there is no shortcoming on their part. However, what is lacking is the state government's focus on health care and educaton. The chief minister is indifferent towards these sectors and state's future," Gandhi said.

The AICC vice president was speaking to media after visiting Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics, popularly known as Sishu Bhavan, which witnessed death of more than 60 infants in a span of 12 days last month.

Describing children as the country's future, Gandhi said the chief minister is not bothered about the future of the state though there is no dearth of funds in Odisha which is endowed with rich mineral resources.

Observing that there should not be any difficulty in running Sishu Bhavan properly, he said the attitude of the state Government should change. "Odisha's tragedy is played out in this hospital," said Gandhi who spent around 30 minutes in the hospital and interacted with doctors.

Maintaining that there was no politics behind his visit to the hospital as alleged by the ruling BJD in Odisha, Rahul said "I came to see for myself the state of affairs here and I thought my visit can at least put some pressure on the state Government to improve things here."

"If the state Government thinks there is politics in my visit, I am happy because it has drawn the attention of the administration to this hospital," he said.

Narrating his experience inside Sishu Bhavan, the Gandhi scion said, "I saw the spirit .. future of Odisha inside the hospital where a child was lying on bed and the mother was crying. However, the child appeared disturbed not for his health condition but for his mother's plight. The child requested us to console the mother."

The mother and the child have every right to get better treatment and attention at the hospital so that they can return happily, said Gandhi.

Refuting BJD's claim that there was politics behind Rahul's visit to the hospital, both PCC President Prasad Harichandan and leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra said party leader's visit is totally humanitarian and not political.

"At least Rahulji could come all the way from Delhi to see the condition of children undergoing treatment, but our chief minister didn't find time to visit the hospital despite the serial infant deaths," said Mishra.

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