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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

AAP’s Vivekanand fights Bihar big guns with probity

Rai Atul Krishna , Hindustan Times  Patna, April 28, 2014
First Published: 00:24 IST(28/4/2014) | Last Updated: 02:07 IST(28/4/2014)

His idealistic father named him after Swami Vivekananda, the 19th century monk who founded the Ramakrishna Mission and introduced Hinduism to the western world at the parliament of world religions at Chicago, US in 1893.

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So impressed was his high school teacher with his ‘service above self’ spirit that he insisted on prefixing ‘Swami’ to his name when he was registering for his matriculation examination in 1977. And after clearing MBBS from Darbhanga Medical College in 1987, he became Dr Swami Vivekanand to diagnose Bihar’s corrupt system besides treating patients.

“I qualified to become a medical officer in Bihar in 1990. My refusal to pay bribe made the powers that be post me at far off places. So I resigned from government service,” says Swami Vivekanand, 50.

The Aam Aadmi Party nominee from Khagaria seat, Vivekanand is an assistant professor of radiology at a private medical college in eastern Bihar’s Katihar. He also runs a largely charitable hospital in his native Khagaria town 160- km east of state capital Patna.

Among the cases listed in his election affidavit is one pertaining to Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 that checks the practice of ascertaining the gender of an unborn child.

“I was framed for refusing to bribe a person in authority for an ultrasound clinic I was running at Purnea in eastern Bihar. He charged me on a technicality — that my machine was smaller than the prescribed size, although he had given written permission for it,” Vivekanand says.

He claims close association with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal despite being the party’s Khagaria nominee by chance. “My younger brother was supposed to be the candidate,” he says.

Vivekanand says he is arraying probity in public life against his opponents in Khagaria, some know for their violent ways. They include RJD’s Krishna Kumari Singh, second wife of ex-MLA Ranvir Yadav who completed a sentence after conviction in the massacre of nine people in 1985. Yadav fell out with chief minister Nitish Kumar after JD(U) denied his first wife and MLA Poonam Devi a ticket from Khagaria.

“My honesty and social service are my weapons, and I am wielding them to win this election,” Vivekanand says, unfazed by Yadav’s presence. His confidence stems from years of fighting corruption in public life and taking up the common man’s causes. He was booked in 2004 for stopping a train at Khagaria  to highlight the woes of flood-hit people.

Apart from Krishna, Vivekanand faces sitting JD(U) parliamentarian Dinesh Chandra Dubey and BJP-backed Lok Janshakti Party candidate Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Kaisar, a former Bihar Congress president who switched sides to contest this poll.

Khagaria is one of seven seats slated to go to the polls in the fourth phase of Bihar elections on April 30. Elections for 20 out of 40 seats in the state were held in the first three phases.


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