The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Non-CPM solidarity for health battle

The largest all-Bengal body of doctors, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), is caught in a political battle in which all non-CPM parties, including some Left Front partners, appear to have come together to embarrass the CPM-controlled health department.

The IMA (Calcutta branch), in tandem with IMA (headquarters) representatives here, is organising a rally and convention on Saturday at which, for the first time in the recent past, leaders of the CPI and the RSP have confirmed participation, along with Trinamul Congress leaders.

The issues to be raised — the Murshidabad child-deaths and the state government’s “inept” handling of the situation — are such that the IMA (Bengal branch), despite the perception that it is controlled by doctors favouring the CPM, has not been able to oppose the move.

But the manner in which the programme has been organised has led it to lodge a complaint with the Delhi headquarters, alleging “indiscipline by branches subordinate” to it.

Saturday’s programme comprises a convention at the anatomy lecture theatre of Medical College and Hospital and a rally at Esplanade, culminating in the submission of a memorandum to Raj Bhavan. IMA (headquarters) and IMA (Calcutta branch) are taking the help of the Medical Service Centre and the Trinamul (MLAs Tapas Roy and Saugata Roy are likely to attend with their supporters).

“We have invited every political party, including the CPM, as we are interested in voicing people’s and doctors’ concerns,” said IMA (Calcutta branch) spokesperson Sudipto Roy. The CPI office confirmed that the party would be represented at the “apolitical” rally “taking up a people’s cause”.

IMA (Bengal branch) secretary Malay Patra admitted that the issues were genuine, but suspected “some other motivation, including political”, behind the programme.

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