Little did we know of Adarsh Shastri till he relinquished his lucrative post as the India head of electronic giant Apple last October and joined the Aam Aadmi Party inspired by Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal's anti-corruption crusade.
The shift from corporate world to politics was nothing unusual.
But carrying it forward to battle out from a seat his grandfather, the former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, held twice in the 1950s is something else.
Relying heavily on that legacy and the “politics of change” fostered by the AAP, Mr. Shastri bore the scorching sun to cut ice among Illahabadis (as the residents of Allahabad are locally called).
He believes his efforts will pay off. Detractors, however, dismiss him as the insignificant fifth man in a four-way tussle between the BSP, SP, Congress and the BJP. “Only 30-40 percent of the people who meet me are doing so because I am an AAP candidate. The rest are drawn to the grandson of Shastriji,” he admits.
The connect between 'Shastriji' and Allahabad, Mr. Shastri adds, is there to see. “Every time I point to some development work or a bridge in Allahabad, locals say it was done during the time of Shastriji. It seems no work has been done since. People expect me to carry forward that work,” he says.
Though his father Anil Shastri is a Congress leader, Mr. Shastri says he didn't opt for the party as he lacks faith in the Congress of today. “There is a bankruptcy of ideology,” he says.
“Even if we go back 25 years ago, honesty persisted. There was a feeling of samarpan (dedication). Today, it's all about politics of opportunism,” says Mr. Shastri, who was educated in Delhi and London
and holds an MBA degree.
Going door-to-door to woo voters, Mr. Shastri promises them that within 100 days he would solve the traffic woes of Allahabad City and within 180 days bring a change in the condition of its roads, water and power supply. Bringing an end to the “goondagardi” (hooliganism) is also high on his priorities.
But will he be able to overhaul the vicious caste-arithmetic? A big thumbs down, analysts say. But he believes he has a chance. “People are much more aware these days. I met some people who were sporting the symbol of another party. They told me 'we are surely carrying this symbol while campaigning but our votes will go to you'.”