How high the political stakes are in DMK-ruled Tamil Nadu, was evident in Lok Sabha on Friday when Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya entered into an argument with DMK MPs.
The high-voltage drama took place during Question Hour, when DMK MP T.R. Baalu sought to know from the Health Minister the number of medical colleges functioning in the country without proper infrastructure, and also the number of colleges whose foundation has been laid by the prime minister, but are yet to function.
To this, Mandaviya said that "politics can be played on any issue, but if the respected member is trying to ask about the AIIMS in Madurai, then I would like to inform that courses have already begun there, only the infrastructure remains to be completed".
When DMK MPs Dayanidhi Maran and K. Kanimozhi protested, the Health Minister said that as the Tamil Nadu government didn't allot land on time, the infrastructure for Madurai AIIMS couldn't be completed on time.
When DMK MPs protested, members from the treasury benches also got up from their seats and both sides could be seen arguing. At this, Mandaviya said that as he had taken action against many medical colleges in Tamil Nadu, which were functioning without proper infrastructure, it (the protests by DMK MPs) was a reaction to that action.
The Health Minister further informed the Lok Sabha that as AIIMS Madurai was a project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and their representatives could not visit India during the last two years owing to the pandemic, the project's cost had gone up to Rs 1,900 crore.
DMK MPs alleged that the minister was threatening them, to which Speaker Om Birla said that the minister had not hinted at anybody specifically, and was making a general observation.
Birla further assured an agitated Baalu that he would look into the matter regarding removing the comments by the minister from the records.