New Delhi, Mar 19 (UNI) Dr Neeraj Patil, a practising doctor at the Kingston Hospital in London, has been fielded by the Labour Party as its candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, earning the distinction of being the first Indian citizen after Dadabhai Naoroji, Piara Khabra and Keith Vaz to contest in Britain's national elections on behalf of a major political party.
Chosen by the Labour Party after 14 years of service as a doctor in over 24 hospitals in the UK and several years as a party worker, the 38-year-old Dr Patil will be pitched against Conservative Education Minister Michal Gove in the British national elections to be held in May 2009.
Originally from Gulbarga in Karnataka, Dr Patil, who spent 14 years in the UK practicing medicine, has achieved significant recognition as a Labour Party representative after he was elected as councillor of Lambeth Council in London in 2006. Thirty-eight per cent Lambeth's population are from ethnic minorities.
''Rich nations have poor politicians and poor nations have rich politicians,''says Dr Patil, pointing out a glaring irony.
''Working as a doctor in the National Health Service (NHS) and having spent 25 years in a developing country, I have seen much poverty, deprivation and under-achievement. I want to make our societies emerge stronger and help poor nations to achieve social justice.'' As Lambeth Councilor Dr Patil was instrumental in improving civic and medical facilities, security, education, culture, environment, promoting community cohesion among other services, which earned him recognition and credibility leading to his latest distinction.
Dr Patil lays special emphasis on the Britain's NHS, having worked as a doctor in over 25 NHS hospitals across the UK for 14 years, and currently serving as Governor of Guys&St Thomas Hospital, London.
At a meeting with the then Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair, Dr Patil challenged Mr Blair's proposal of involving the private sector in the NHS and, addressed 200 doctors, nurses, health workers, MPs and members of the community at a mass lobby of Parliament urging the government to listen to the people who handed them power, thus gaining recognition as someone who is not afraid to speak his mind.
Dr. Patil was born and brought up in Kamalapur, Gulbarga in North Karnataka. His grandfather Shankar Shetty Patil participated in India's freedom struggle and later became a Member of the Legislative Assembly from Kamalapur. His mother Dr Parvati Devi Patil is a retired medical professor.
He completed his MBBS from M R Medical College, Gulbarga in 1992 and worked for sometime in the Osmania Medical College before going to the UK for higher studies. He worked as an Accident and Emergency Consultant and as a Doctor in over 25 NHS Hospitals across the UK for 14 years.
Dr Patil lives in London with his 5-year-old daughter Nikita and wife Anagha who is also a doctor.