BENGALURU: With the unveiling of a government scheme to make free medical care available at the doorsteps of people in five select villages in Bengaluru Rural as a pilot, the strategy is clear... unleash a clutch of user-friendly medical services and harvest the consequent goodwill, expecting it to translate into votes in the Assembly elections.
This scheme follows a mega health fair held a few months ago where over two lakh people were given free healthcare services. Cataract surgeries, dentures and many other procedures were carried out free of cost, in probably the biggest single free healthcare initiative by the government. Asked about Congress plans, KPCC president DK Shivakumar said, “BJP is in power and they can do it. We held a massive health camp for the entire Bengaluru Rural Parliamentary constituency in the second week of May. That was an initiative I undertook. When we work on our party manifesto, we will pay special attention to healthcare.’’
JDS deputy leader in the Assembly and former minister Bandeppa Kashempur said, “These health schemes are just a gimmick before the elections. If BJP was more serious about it, they could have launched pilot projects in different parts of the state, including Kalyana-Karnataka and coastal Karnataka, instead of only in Bengaluru. We understand health is important. If we come to power, we will ensure superspeciality health services to individuals at the gram panchayat level.”
Congress had launched ambulances and other services during Covid that garnered a lot of goodwill for the party. Congress MLA Dr Ranganath Doddaiah from Kunigal said he is planning a mobile health facility that will be launched later this month. Free healthcare will be provided to all his constituency members.
On the government’s free healthcare pilot, Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy, who is the chief whip of BJP, said, “The initiative is to provide free healthcare at villages once a month. This should be extended to the entire Bengaluru district.”