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Bengal's doctor candidates bat for electorates' health

Posted on Apr 11 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, April 11 : A clutch of physicians in West Bengal has plunged into the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as they see it as an opportunity to contribute to the health sector.

As many as 15 physicians, a few of them political greenhorns, are pitted in the poll battles in Bengal.

A common scene during the campaigning is that almost all the medicos in the running have to devote much time to their calling as voters seek answers to various health issues.

The doctors are all smiles as they readily check up patients, prescribe medicines and even recommend diagnostic tests. Done with the "fruitful canvassing", they move on to the next voter.

For obstetrician Mumtaz Sanghamita, the Trinamool Congress candidate fighting from the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency, the transformation to the realm of politics is an extension of social service.

"As doctors, we are doing a social service and when provided with a bigger opportunity, we can take that social service with us," Sanghamita told IANS.

Sanghamita, who actively participates in health camps in the state, believes new laws need to be introduced and existing legislations amended in the health sector.

The Trinamool has fielded six doctor candidates while the Left Front has five. The BJP has three doctors on its list of candidates, one more than the Congress.

"The Lok Sabha is the place from where laws are made and therefore one can contribute in the health sector through that," Sanghamita said, adding stress needs to be laid on tackling crib deaths.

"Mother and child health are interdependent on other factors like sanitation, education etc. So we need to look at the problem in its entirety," she said.

A member of the CPI-M since 2001, physician Kamre Elahi, the party's candidate from Birbhum parliamentary constituency, advocated health insurance cover for all.

"We believe that an individual's health is in their own hands. Another aspect is extending health insurance to all sections of society and that is what we hope to achieve," he told IANS.

Busy campaigning, Elahi, who attends to patients from underprivileged backgrounds, said doctors have a responsibility to society and politics has provided him with a chance to do it on a larger scale.

"There has to be a balance between professional commitments and working for the masses," he said when asked about juggling his duties as a physician and as a party member.

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