In the midst of ostentatious display of money and muscle power, a physician, popularly known here as the ‘Ten Rupee Doctor’, has also entered the battle of ballots to test his electoral fortune as an independent candidate.
When M. Ganesan, 61, of Sindhupoondurai in Tirunelveli Junction, accompanied by an auto driver and three others, came to the Collectorate with nomination papers on Saturday to submit it to Collector M. Karunakaran, most of the journalists and the policemen there on duty were very surprised and a trifle amused as the physician is quite popular here.
For the families of most of the auto drivers, labourers and the workers affiliated to small business establishments in and around Tirunelveli Junction, Dr. Ganesan is a saviour, as he, after graduating from Tirunelveli Medical College in 1978, charged only Rs. 2 when he started his practice 36 years ago. “After charging just Rs. 10 for long that fetched him the nickname Ten Rupee Doctor, he now, in recent times, gradually increased his fee to Rs. 40 a patient for administering an injection and giving tablets for three days,” says S. Murugan, an auto driver.
“I, hailing from a poor family with Leftist orientation from Sivakasi and settled here 50 years ago, have fully understood the pain of deprivation. Hence, I serve the poor ever since I entered this profession,” Dr. Ganesan says. Even as the whirlwind electioneering by leaders of political parties has created an interesting situation in the political arena, the doctor-contestant is really cool and calm.
“I’ve printed pamphlets that will tell you my contribution to the society and also my future plans for the disadvantaged sections here. I’ll win this battle to serve the people in a better fashion,” said Dr. Ganesan, exuding confidence.