Indore: Leading RTI activist and Vyapam scam whistleblower Dr Anand Rai has decided to take a plunge into politics by quitting his government job.
“As I have waged a war against Vyapam scam, any association with the party would dent my credibility and image. So, I would contest from Indore-5 as a Congress or an independent candidate,” Dr Rai told to The Wire Odisa over phone.
Besides exposing various corruption cases, the Indore-based physician has filed close to 10,000 RTIs and claims to have submitted first ever RTI application of Madhya Pradesh.
Indore-5 seat, from where Rai wishes to contest, is presently held by Dr Mahendra Hardia, the former MoS for Health and Family Welfare. Hardia defeated Congress’ Pankaj Sanghvi by over 14,000 votes in 2013.
With less than two weeks left for the voting, personal campaigning is impossible. The ones who have strong presence on social media could only pull it off in this short duration, claimed Rai. He has over two lakh followers on Twitter, around 65,000 followers on Facebook and sizable followers on other social media platforms.
The Vyapam scam whistleblower also took a jibe at Pankaj Sanghvi of Congress, who is reportedly lobbying for a re-nomination from Indore-5.
Rai says that Sanghvi is an accused in Vyapam scam and his college is accused of helping out students clear medical tests fraudulently. “Congress should think whether it wants to offer ticket to a 65-year-old Vapam scam accused or a 40-year-old anti-graft crusader,” he said.
Best known for exposing the Vyapam admission and recruitment scam, Rai said his anti-graft endeavours spread much beyond that.
“I was instrumental in exposing DMAT scam, unethical clinical trials in Indore. A joint petition with wife had ensured women employees of MP government get two year child care leave, got infertility listed in the diseases covered by Rajya Bimari Sahayata Nidhi and so on,” Rai said.
Sanghvi, however, said there are no criminal cases against him and termed Vyapam controversy as mere accusations. “I am a popular figure which was the reason I got 3.90 lakh votes in Lok Sabha polls and 3.15 lakh votes in mayoral polls which I was made to lose by BJP fraudulently,” claimed Sanghvi who has rose through the ranks in politics after successful stint as a student union leader.
He lashed out at Rai for raking up old issues and trying to malign his image. “Who is Dr Anand Rai? He has no stature in the Congress party to get a ticket.” I am sure I would get the ticket,”he added.
Congress is expected to announce candidate on Indore -5 and other seats on Wednesday. Rai is confident of his victory, owing to his popularity among the youth and his past record. His associate and JAYS national convener Dr Hira Alawa has been fielded by Congress from Manawar seat in Dhar.