Questioning the NDA Government's move to hold off on a decision to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said on Thursday that it reflected the BJP's double standards.
"They have (Charan) their own 'beedi business' and obviously the sale of beedi will have to be increased. And, Modi ji will continue with his silence," he said.
Meanwhile, former Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi disapproved Gupta's argument that the tobacco industry is being unfairly targeted and said the latter's statement shows the ruling BJP's support for tobacco lobbying.
"Where there is a fury going on in the country about the increase in cancer, and if in this case, being a minister he [Shyama Charan Gupta] says that tobacco is not harmful then it is very shameful. His statement shows BJP's support for tobacco lobbying that is going on," she said.
Gandhi, who heads the parliamentary panel on subordinate legislation examining the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, had said that all studies linking cancer to tobacco have come from abroad and that there is no Indian survey report to confirm it.
Shyama Charan Gupta, who is another member of the panel, said the tobacco industry is being unfairly targeted.
"Why can't doctors explain why chain smokers don't get cancer?" asked Gupta, who is the owner of a beedi-making business.
The committee has reportedly delayed the government's plans to enforce bigger health warnings on cigarette packets by saying it wants time to study the issue.