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Parties’ healing touch this election

Doctors cure people of diseases. But did you know there are a few of them who want to cure the city of all its problems? Neelam Pandey and Astha Saxena report.

delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2012 01:37 IST
news,hindustan times,Neelam Pandey

Doctors cure people of diseases. But did you know there are a few of them who want to cure the city of all its problems?

This municipal election has become a melange of contenders from various walks of life. And this time, the medical fraternity too has stepped forward to take a plunge into politics. Right from amateur to veteran doctors, everyone is trying their luck in these polls. And both BJP and Congress have accommodated practising doctors in their lists.

The civic body runs 33 hospitals, 27 maternity centres and 118 maternity and child care centres. The MCD also formulates policies related to vector-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. Its Public Health Committee deliberates upon issues related to public health. So having doctors as councillors can be termed a big advantage.

This is why, Umesh Mittal, who graduated from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) in 1980, is contesting from the Paschim Vihar seat on a Congress ticket for the first time. Mittal’s daughter is currently pursuing MD in medicine from MAMC. His son graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

“I want to change the perception of the people who think politics is only for the corrupt. I’ve been curing the sick people of my area for the past 30 years and now time has come to cure the area of its civic problems,” said 54-year-old Mittal, who has been running a clinic in Paschim Vihar for the past three decades.

So what makes political parties choose doctors as their candidates? “We have not given them tickets only because they are doctors. They have been actively involved with the party for quite sometime. Also, we want to send out a message that there is scope for educated professionals and people with clean image in politics. Such people get more respect in political and social life than ordinary and uneducated people,” said Jai Prakash Aggarwal, president, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.

The 70-member Delhi Assembly too has three MBBS doctors — Dr AK Walia, Dr Harshwardhan and Dr SCL Gupta. Another MLA Dr Narendra Nath is also a medical practitioner.

Like Congress, BJP too admitted that doctors are held in high esteem by the public. “There is a high demand for people with impressive educational qualifications so that they can form the MCD’s thinktank,” said Vijendra Gupta, president of the BJP's state unit.

Moreover, it’s not just general practitioners who have taken to local politics. Other doctors belonging to different fields too are contesting these polls.

For instance, 42-year-old Dr Nandini Sharma, has been practising homoeopathy for nearly 20 years. She has also been a visiting physician to President Estate Clinic at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

A first-timer, Sharma is contesting from south Delhi’s Hauz Rani ward on a BJP ticket.

To connect with the people, she has been organising health and nutrition camps for all the residents. “I have been providing free services to the residents of my area. My focus is to connect with Muslim women who feel shy while discussing their problems with male councillors,” she said.

This year, both the major parties have fielded eight doctors in these polls. Though many of them are first-timers, a few of them have been in politics for years.

Your Councillor's report card

First Published: Apr 09, 2012 23:50 IST