I was the president of Indian medical association, Vijaypura in the year 2016, and months of June, July and August witnessed unprecedented increase in dengue cases in the district. I wrote to the DC, Commissioner corporation and District Health officer Vijaypura to constitute a task force to tackle the same on war footing, but there was no response. Frustrated, I appealed to my friends in the medical association to come forward and start a campaign. When nothing worked, I was left with no option but to fight it alone.
On August 12, 2016 I sat on Hunger strike at Vijaypur demanding basic cleanliness in the city as dengue deaths had increased and all my reminders to the DC, DHO, Corporation commissioner had reached deaf ears. It was an eye opener for me. One campaign had taught me several lessons, ranging from the political power centers in the district which control everything from Municipal administration to ZP to contracts in civic works to how politics is played out behind the public eye across party lines in Vijayapura. It was a successful campaign which forced the Incharge administration to call an emergency meeting under the agenda- Cleanliness of Vijaypur, which happened for the first time in the history of the district. I was also directly and indirectly warned to manage my affairs and to keep away from entering into the field of public administration. Permission to sit on fast was refused, my pandal was dismantled forcefully, my campaign hoardings were removed forcefully, corporation commissioner arrived personally at the venue the previous night and warned me of legal action under many pretexts he said the administration is capable of. I stood my ground and sat in the ground at the venue with many citizen activists and associations. With time crowds began to swell leaving the administration worried.
When the administration saw that the ‘fast for clean and safe Vijayapur’ campaign was turning out to be another JantarMantar event, the municipal commissioner, the Mayor and the deputy mayor came down to the venue of the fast and promised necessary action, in the next three months. We also noticed brisk activity from the Corporation who got tens of foggers and waste management started speeding up!
An awareness campaign was held the next day across the main lanes of the city in which nearly 2000 students from various schools participated.
This campaign made me realize the fact that Nation building cannot happen without us the educated and interested citizens not getting into electoral politics. I realized that in democracy, if any change has to happen on a large scale within a short period of time, we need proper flag bearers at the top of elected political leadership.
Probably this pushed me into the political arena.