The reservation issue continues to haunt the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here as the main poll plank for the elections to its resident doctors association (RDA) that began early Tuesday.
Nearly 1,400 resident doctors, interns and students of AIIMS will elect eight representatives including president, vice president, secretary, and joint secretary to represent the RDA. Sixteen Candidates are contesting the elections that began at 7.00 a.m.
"Looking at the recent developments in our campus over reservation, the election holds a broader significance. We will continue our fight against reservation in educational institutes and in that perspective the elections hold a greater meaning," said Anil Sharma, a senior resident doctor.
In May, hundreds of resident doctors at AIIMS protested against the government's decision to implement 27 percent reservation for the other backward classes (OBCs) in government-aided institutions of higher education.
They struck work for nearly 20 days leaving thousands of patients from across the country to suffer. Nearly 8,000 patients are treated everyday at AIIMS.
The institute had become the epicentre of the nation-wide anti-quota stir. Mass protests were held in August as well to prevent the reservation bill from being tabled in parliament.
Sharma, who is contesting for the senior resident doctors' representative seat, said some pro-reservation doctors wanted to halt the electoral process for three years.
"They had sent a letter to the director urging a three year ban. They are doing this to implement reservation at AIIMS. We are not against any one but our only fight is give due justice to talent," he said.
"It was an issue in the Delhi university elections and will be a part of any university election in the coming days," he added.
The elections were being conducted under strict security.
"To avoid any complaint, we have handed over the venue of the election - hostel number seven - to the police. A senior panel of doctors will closely monitor the process to check any discrimination or malpractice," said a senior professor at AIIMS.
Meanwhile, some Dalit students have written to AIIMS Director P. Venugopal complaining of harassment by upper caste students in the institute.