Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar to share stage at state launch of health scheme

Published: 20 November, 2013 06:32 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh |

In spite of growing animosity between allies Congress and NCP in the state, the two leaders will attend the public launch of the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana tomorrow in Nagpur

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar willshare the stage at Nagpur tomorrow for the statewide launch ofthe party’s ambitious Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana, which aims to provide free treatment for serious ailments to the 2.11 crore population of the state living below the poverty line.

New beginnings: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan were present at an event to inaugurate the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in the city yesterday 

The leaders will be sharing the dais in the tense backdrop of growing animosity between the two allies who form the Democratic Front alliance, and the souring of ties between the Pawar-ledparty and the state’s Congress Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Significantly, the Congress has made it a point to invite the Union agriculture minister, even though the scheme is a brainchild of the Congress and targets the party’s vote bank.

Pawar, who recently attacked the CM for his slow decision-making, also expressed his reservations over working under under Rahul Gandhi if he is elected as the country’s next prime minister and his party’s decision to depute senior leader DP Tripathi to a rally organised by the Third Front parties.

According to political sources, it will be interesting to watch both the senior leaders sharing a dais in face of the NCP’s strong reservations over Chavan’s working style.

The event was planned quite a while ago, as the Congress was keen on implementing the scheme across the state. Aiming for maximum political mileage, the Congress party has decided to ensure the attendance of 1.5 lakh party workers at Kasturchand Park for the public launch.

At present, the scheme is operational in eight districts of the state and has achieved its first target of 1.5 lakh free surgeries on poor and needy patients who fall in the BPL category. According to Public Health Minister Suresh Shetty, the scheme provides free treatment and operations on 971 types of diseases.  

52.30 L The number of families benefited by the scheme since July, when it was launched in eight districts of the state

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