In a development that has further exposed the actual agenda and ‘charitra’ of the ruling BJP dispensation at the centre, yet another party MP has come out in open to defend the tobacco lobby in the country. BJP, which has always stood by vested interests and industrial lobbies, now with a majority won in Lok Sabha has shamelessly come out to defend tobacco products and its consumption, a major cause of cancer related deaths in the country.
BJP MP from Assam, Ram Prasad Sarmah has said today in an interview that whether or not smoking causes cancer is debatable. The statement by Sarmah comes soon after the parliamentary panel head and BJP MP Dilip Gandhi stated that there was no Indian study to confirm tobacco use leads to cancer. He sought to defend the tobacco lobby through his observation which coincided with the April 1 deadline for increasing size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products being deferred by the BJP government.
On Thursday another 'beedi' baron and a parliamentary committee member from BJP Shyam Charan Gupta, Lok Sabha MP from Allahabad suggested that there are "nil" effect of smoking.
All these remarks are a clear case of conflict of interest. The fact that BJP MP Gupta is into tobacco industry and also a member of Parliamentary Committee of Subordinate Legislation looking into the rules regarding tobacco sale in the country is a mockery of the Parliamentary standards of legislation and policy making.
The public statements of BJP MPs in support of tobacco syndicate is not just grossly unethical but also raises several questions on the effectiveness of Parliamentary working.
With the conflict of interest and vested moves of the members and head of the Parliamentary Committee out in the open, Hon. Speaker should recall the report and take action against the members who continued to the part of the committee without due declaration.
The BJP leadership should come out clear on its stand on the issue and answer to the public if it has purposely let its political space and platform to be utilized by vested lobbies to pursue their selfish interests.
Aam Aadmi calls upon the Hon. Speaker to take immediate action in this regard. BJP leadership should clarify its stand and make clear to the public if it stands for the tobacco lobby or with the health of the citizens of the country.