Apart from promoting them online, it will also fund their election campaign

After carrying out campaigns to increase voter enrolment ahead of the May 5 Assembly elections, Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), a citizens’ group that seeks better governance, on Saturday announced a list of 14 candidates contesting in the city whom it will endorse.

At a press conference here, managing trustee and president of B.PAC Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who is also Biocon managing director, said the candidates were chosen on the basis of their educational qualification, public service, and absence of criminal record, besides their “good knowledge of governance of Bangalore city”.

Referring to candidates, who cut across party lines, vice-president of B.PAC Mohandas Pai said the citizens’ group was not party centric. “We are candidate centric. We have endorsed candidates, who, we feel will engage and continue dialogue with us after the elections,” he said.

Curiously, B.PAC is supporting more than one candidate in a couple of constituencies. In Malleswaram, it has endorsed BJP candidate C.N. Ashwath Narayan as well as Lok Satta Party (LSP) candidate Meenakshi Bharath. In Basavanagudi, it has backed Congress candidate B.K. Chandrashekar and Shanthala Damle of the LSP.

B.PAC, apart from promoting the candidates on social networking sites, will also fund their election campaign by providing each of them Rs. 5 lakh. In constituencies where the group is supporting more than one candidate, each will receive Rs. 3 lakh.

Justifies funding

Ms. Shaw justified funding the candidates by saying that the election expenditure ceiling of Rs. 16 lakh fixed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) was being blatantly overshot.

“There is illicit money coming into politics and [to counter it] there is a need to contribute to the fund…,” she said.

Stressing the need for the educated middle class to actively participate in the electoral process, she said, “We want to question the unethical practices. We are frustrated about corruption. It is time to act and play a role in the electoral process.”

Mr. Pai said there was a need to focus on development of Bangalore as it was the technological capital of the country.

The other candidates endorsed by B.PAC are Congress candidate in Byatarayanapura Krishna Byre Gowda, LSP candidate in Bommanahalli Ashwin Mahesh, Congress candidate in Bangalore South Tejaswini Gowda, JD(S) candidate in Hebbal Abdul Azeem, Congress candidate in Gandhinagar Dinesh Gundu Rao, BJP candidate in Jayanagar B.N. Vijaykumar, Congress candidate in Mahalakshmi Layout N.L. Narendra Babu, JD(S) candidate in Padmanabhanagar M.R.V. Prasad, BJP candidate in Rajajinagar S. Suresh Kumar and KJP’s Sarvagnanagar candidate Michael B. Fernandes.

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