The ongoing strike of junior doctors in West Bengal at state-run hospitals has become the new point of contention between the ruling TMC and the Opposition, led by the BJP, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying the developments were a result of the national party’s “conspiracy”.
To take stock of the protests, Banerjee visited the SSKM Hospital earlier in the day and gave an ultimatum to the agitating doctors to end the strike or face consequences.
However, by evening, the deadline for the ultimatum lapsed, 11 doctors from state-run hospitals allegedly resigned in protest, and the agitators continued with the strike, severely inconveniencing the common people. Even an appeal from Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to resume their services fell on deaf ears.
The agitating doctors, led by the Joint Platform of Doctors, West Bengal and Doctors’ Association of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, met the governor with their demands.
While some of the more serious cases were routed to private hospitals directly by the chief minister, other patients, including emergency cases, went neglected.
“Cancer patients, kidney patients, accident victims, even children coming from distant places are suffering for not getting treatment”, the chief minister said.
Meanwhile the Opposition in the state has already started leveraging the stalemate.
Banerjee maintained that the agitation, which entered its third day on Thursday, has been purported and supported by “outsiders”.
On social media, she posted, “Provocations are coming from other political parties, which no one should fall trapped into. Today when I visited SSKM, I saw gatherings of outsiders of different political parties shouting slogans in hospital silence zones and stopping emergency services. Patient parties are crying and outdoor services are closed”.
BJP’s president of the West Bengal unit, Dilip Ghosh, alleged that steps against people who had beaten up a junior doctor at the state-run Nilratan Sircar Medical College (NRS) in Kolkata on Tuesday, were not taken as the accused are voters of the TMC.
The Congress also wrote to prime minister, Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention to resolve the impasse.