Shimla, September 3
With a record 12 MBBS doctors making it to the Punjab Assembly in the poll held earlier this year, the election bug seems to have bitten their counterparts in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh too.
Though the elections in the hill state are still a few months away, two senior doctors have already put in their papers while another is on the verge of quitting. All have been eyeing poll ticket from their home constituencies.
Dr Janak Raj, neurosurgery professor and Senior Medical Superintendent at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Shimla, resigned on August 16. Eyeing ticket from his native place Bharmour (Chamba), Dr Janak’s social media accounts are flooded with pictures of his daily interaction with the locals.
Dr Lokinder Sharma, an orthopaedic surgeon who was earlier posted at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in Shimla, appears keen to contest from Theog (Shimla). He unsuccessfully vied for the BJP ticket in 2017. Dr Lalit Chander Kant, another senior doctor posted at the Cancer Hospital in Shimla, is learnt to be looking to resign and throw his hat in the ring from Nachan (Mandi), the place he belongs to.
The present Vidhan Sabha has two ayurvedic (BAMS) doctors, both from the BJP: Health Minister Dr Rajiv Saizal (Kasauli MLA) and former Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal (Nahan). Of the 12 doctors who won in Punjab, nine are from AAP and one each from the Akali Dal, Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party.
Several retired bureaucrats and police officers have also been lining up to jump into the poll arena and are lobbying for ticket from the BJP, Congress and AAP. Former Director General of Police ID Bhandari, associated with AAP, is in the contention from Ghumarwin (Bilaspur). Retired IAS officer JC Sharma, who retired as the Principal Private Secretary to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, is keen on Chamba. Vikas Dhiman, a 2012-batch Himachal Police Service officer who resigned in July, is staking claim for the BJP ticket from Jaisinghpur (Kangra).
Among successful bureaucrats-turned-politicians, former Chief Secretary Thakur Sen Negi won six times from Kinnaur. He also remained the Vidhan Sabha Speaker thrice. BK Chauhan, a retired IAS officer of the 1974 batch, won from Chamba in 2012. JR Katwal, another retired IAS officer, is the sitting BJP MLA from Jhandutta (Bilaspur).
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