Ahead of Maharashtra Medical Council elections, IMA fears rigging

Indian Medical Association (IMA) writes to returning officer demanding vigilant supervision of elections, to be held on December 18

Ahead of the much-awaited Maharashtra Medical Council’s (MMC) elections, which will be held on Sunday, Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written a letter to returning officer expressing their concern over possible rigging of polls.

IMA, the umbrella body of allopathy medicine practitioners, requested the RO to vigilantly supervise entire election process personally for fair and free election.

“We are afraid that there may be some rigging at voting venues in different district headquarters,” said Dr Shivkumar Utture, one of the nine IMA members who will be contesting elections.

MMC is a quasi-judicial body which governs quality of medical education and medical ethics in state. An autonomous body, it reserves rights to provide registration and cancellation of medical licences. The Council has 18 members, of which nine are elected by doctors, four are ex-officio members and five are appointed by state.

“This election is different because for the first time there is a distinct attempt by political forces to ‘capture’ MMC. The effort is to control medical education and medical practise by establishing a command over the Council. Therefore, we are scared of a possible rigging,” said Dr Suhas Pingle, an IMA member.

Indian Medical Association’s letter to returning officer

Doctors also expressed their concerns that in interiors of Maharashtra, a voter may have to travel 80-90 km to reach polling booth to cast vote.

Moreover, MMC has found that some doctors have not updated their change of address because of which they have not received identity card.

“Doctors who have failed to update their address and do not have an MMC identity card can vote with the help of PAN card, passport, Aadhaar card, Voter ID card or driving license. However, they will have to go to polling booth which falls under jurisdiction of their old address,” said Utture.

On Sunday, 85,000 registered doctors will cast their votes in 36 respective polling booths in Maharashtra, of which two are in Mumbai.

MMC elections are conducted after every five years. In its 2009 election, all nine elected members were attached with IMA, but this time there are other panels like Parivartan, Pragati, Maharashtra Medical Association and Maharashtra Medical Professionals have also nominated their doctor members.