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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai May 26 , 2022
As the election day is approaching for electing new office-bearers for the Chennai based Indian Medical Practitioners’ Cooperative Pharmacy and Stores Ltd (Impcops), a city based NGO working in the field of traditional health systems has appealed to the Central Registrar of Co-Operative Societies under the Union Ministry of Co-Operation to direct the multi-state cooperative society in Chennai to hold the election on online mode.

Impcops will go to polls on June 19 to elect 16 board of directors representing Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and the Union Territories.

The NGO, Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research (CTMR), has informed the Central registrar that virtual voting method is simpler and convenient as far as the members are concerned who belong to different states including Delhi and union territories.

In an email sent to the central registrar, Dr. T T Narayan, secretary of the CTMR said online voting will help save huge money and time in addition to improving the turnout. He says that the members of different states need not come to Chennai by spending money for travel and accommodation if the process is conducted online. Dr Narayan’s argument is that when everything is going digital including various election processes, why can’t a society’s election be conducted in virtual mode. Further, he stresses on the need of amending the election rules of Impcops to conduct the polls online.

Along with the letter to the central registrar, CTMR has wanted Impcops to consider cost-reduction measures in all the activities and in the election process. He advised the Society to reduce expenses in the process of election which is held in the post-pandemic period. According to him, online mode of voting will increase turnout, so that all members can exercise their franchise.

While talking to Pharmabiz, Dr. TTN said the election of Impcops is held every five years. The Society has over 15,000 registered members, but about 5,000 members are not alive now. The active members’ list contains 10,000 to 11,000 people, out of these only 1,500 or less than 2,000 members are coming to Impcops in Chennai to cast their votes in every election. He said this way of conducting the election cannot be recognized as free and fair because only 10 or 11 per cent of the voters are participating in the entire exercise. Majority of members are not participating in the election process. If the voting is arranged in virtual mode, hundred percent turnouts can be achieved. All doctors are using smartphones and the internet.

Pointing out some areas of malpractice and corruption in the process of election, the siddha expert said for mobilizing support of voters each panel will bring members from different places to Chennai and accommodate them in hotels by spending huge money. No member will turn up voluntarily or by spending money from his pocket. Each panel will bring a maximum of 1,200 or 1,300 people, more than that they cannot afford. This is what is happening in every election. Majority is not taking part in the franchise.

When asked whether CTMR is fielding any candidate or supporting any panel, Dr. TTN said at present it has not taken a decision, but there are chances. He said a panel led by one Dr Muruga Ganapathi in Salem is also contesting. CTMR is associated with all medical professionals irrespective of any politics.

Dr. Sai Ganesh, the president of Siddha Hospital Association in Madurai, said he is not at all interested in contesting the election of Impcops as he is very much worried and disturbed in the way the society is functioning for the last one decade. He said he does not want to comment on the election as all the candidates are his friends. When asked whether he will go to Chennai to cast his vote, he said if it is online he will consider, otherwise not.

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