Congress veteran and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister N D Tiwari has put his own party state government in a piquant situation when he sat on a dharna against poor health facility at a government-run hospital in Haldwani area.
Tiwari, his wife Ujjwala and son Rohit Shekhar gagged themselves and sat on a dharna outside Sushila Tiwari government hospital at Haldwani yesterday, in protest against the health facility's poor condition.
The hospital was formed during the leader's tenure and was named after his first wife Sushila Tiwari.
The trouble began on Tuesday when Tiwari visited the hospital along with his family and was shocked to find the hospital terribly understaffed with lack of medical equipment among other follies.
The octogenarian leader immediately held a press conference and accused the state government for the sorry state of affairs at the hospital.
Senior party leaders and Chief Minister Harish Rawat's ministerial colleagues Indira Hridayesh and Harish Chandra Durgapal rushed to the hospital to persuade Tiwari to end his protest but the latter refused to budge.
Tiwari's protest against his own party's government prompted Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Bhatt to allege that the vow of silence by the Congress veteran had exposed the "falsehood" of Chief Minister Harish Rawat's claims of development in the state.
In an apparent damage control, State Medical Education Minister Harak Singh Rawat convened a press conference in Dehradun at short notice late in the evening to announce that 35 vacant posts of doctors at the hospital will be filled within two-three months.
75 staff nurses will be appointed at the hospital by February 2016 and the 10-year-old MRI and CT Scan machines will be replaced during the ongoing financial year, he announced.
However, the 12-hour protest ended only with the Chief Minister's intervention who spoke to Tiwari on the phone at around 12 in the night and assured him that he will personally ensure that all his grievances regarding the hospital are redressed.