With an aim to cure Delhi’s problems, several doctors have taken a plunge into politics this poll season. While four doctors have been fielded by the Congress and BJP each, AAP has no medical practitioner on the list.
In East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar, two doctors — a veteran politician and a first-timer — are in the fray to contest the assembly polls. A four-time MLA, Dr A K Walia, who also held important portfolios in Sheila Dikshit’s government, is contesting against BJP’s Dr Anil Goyal, who is fighting polls for the first time.
A general physician, Walia holds an MBBS degree. Recalling his canvassing days in 1999, he explained how much of a connect a medical practitioner has with people. “While I was campaigning in Laxmi Nagar, a woman came and asked me whether I will be treating her or not. She knew me as a doctor… We have a direct personal connection with the people. Even now, I treat patients who come to me,” said Walia (71), who is also running a nursing home in Laxmi Nagar since 1983.
On the other hand, Dr Goyal already has a list ready with the changes he wishes to make in the city’s healthcare system. A urologist, he also runs an 80-bedded nursing home in Krishna Nagar. Unhappy with AAP’s mohalla clinics, he believes the health scheme needs to be altered.
“If elected to power, we will have an alternative model of mohalla clinic. At present, mohalla clinics are not equipped to deal with emergency care services. We will upgrade all dispensaries to provide basic medical care. For my constituency, there is only one government-run hospital, Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, and that is also in shambles. We will increase the number of beds, doctors and upgrade the overall infrastructure,” he said. Goyal was also president of the Delhi Medical Association in 2014-2015 and has been an elected member of Delhi Medical Council. He is also the co-chairman of Delhi BJP’s doctor cell.
Delhi Congress chief Subash Chopra acknowledged that doctors are “well-connected with people”. “They deal with them on regularly, and when inside the government, they can address issues that directly affect patients.”
Other doctors fielded are: Dr Naresh Kumar (Mundka), Dr Narender Nath (Shahdara) and Dr SP Singh (Gokulpur) from the Congress, and Dr SC Vats (Shakurbasti), Dr Mahendar Nagpal (Wazirpur) and Dr SCL Gupta (Sangam Vihar) from BJP.
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