Published: 13th April 2018
Nothing political about ABVP, no party affiliation: ABVP Nat'l President's strange stance after controversy in TN
Dr Subbiah says that the ABVP is not a political party and that he himself is not political, so the accusations are pointless
Everybody in India knows which way the ABVP swings, whether it's with student elections or showing up at protests of all kinds, or rallies even. And yet, in the eye of a social media storm for trying to organise a medical conference along with TN's Government Medical University, the ABVP's top man just toed a rather strange line. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's National President Dr S Subbiah has said that the ABVP is in no way a political party or canvassing for one, "We are not a political party neither are we connected to one. Have you heard of ABVP standing for any elections? People are just looking to make issues political without reason," he said while speaking to Edex. Perhaps he wasn't thinking about student elections when he said this, because the ABVP has been contesting elections for decades now.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad along with the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University were due to hold a conference called MeDeVision on April 21 and 22 in Chennai. However, after a lot of criticism from government doctors on social media, the University has withdrawn its support from the conference and claimed that had no knowledge of the ABVP's involvement. They said they were only meant to rent out their hall and were surprised to find that they had been advertised as the hosts of the event, according to reports.The MeDeVision conference, a brainchild of the ABVP is going to have its fourth edition this month. It was previously held in Raichur, Mysore and Mumbai but is allegedly running into trouble for the first time, here in Chennai. A lot of the government doctors were upset with the fact that a State University was hosting an event in collaboration with a politically affiliated group like the ABVP.
Busting "Myths": Dr Subbiah has been a member of the ABVP since 1986 and claims they have no political connections
The person to particularly come under a lot of heat is Subbiah, who is the professor and head of surgical oncology at the Government Royapettah Hospital and Kilpauk Medical College and has been a member of the ABVP since 1986.
Subbiah says that the group has been part of many initiatives in the past, "ABVP is just like any other association like the Tamil Nadu Doctors Association and others in that category. They all hold protests and discussions. Why can't we?" He went on to add, "ABVP is not political, I am not political, in fact, I have no interest in politics. I care about issues related to the medical field and this conference is an attempt to bring together students and teachers from various colleges to discuss their issues and find solutions for these problems. People just like to politicise everything," he explained. He also added that the heated political atmosphere in the state could be the reason why things became so controversial.
"Misunderstood campaign": Dr Subbiah believes that the event was just a way of getting medical students to talk about issues relating to their education and work
Many doctors have raised questions over whether it was legal for a government doctor to be a part of a political group or a group that is "affiliated" to a political party. Dr Amalorpavanathan Joseph, a retired government doctor and a former Chair of the TN Transplant Authority in a Facebook post called it "appalling", "I don't know if the service rules of Government of Tamil Nadu allows membership in the ABVP. As far as I know, no government servant can be a member of any political party or any organisation affiliated to a political party. This is the first time I can see a government doctor becoming the National President of such a body. Can government servants be office bearers in SFI, AISF and others? Do service rules permit? Has he taken the permission of the government?" he questioned.
He said it was the first time that he heard of a University align itself with an organisation like the ABVP, "I wish the medical students and doctors do not allow educational bodies to be party to partisan interests. Save medical education from partisan politics."
The medical university's withdrawal from the event at the last minute has put them in a bit of a fix but Subbiah says the MeDeVision group will soon figure out their next steps.