Technocrats and corporate executives looking forward to maiden innings in politics

Karnataka may see a number of first-time contestants in politics making it straight to the electoral scene in the Lok Sabha elections thanks to the success of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.

If businessmen and former bureaucrats made it to electoral politics in the past, technocrats and corporate executives are now looking forward to joining politics. Indications are that many of the top executives in the information technology sector in Bangalore may quit their lucrative jobs in favour of politics. As per an estimation, there are nearly 20 lakh people directly or indirectly connected with the IT sector.

There have been several classic cases of bureaucrats making it big in politics here, the notable among them being P. Kodandaramaiah, a former police commissioner of Bangalore who contested the Lok Sabha elections of 1996 soon after he quit the Indian Police Service and was elected to the Lok Sabha on a Janata Dal ticket from the Chitradurga constituency.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Janaradhana Swamy, a technocrat settled in the U.S., contested on a BJP ticket from Chitradurga and won with a good margin.

The former bureaucrats apart, now senior professionals connected with the information technology sector are getting ready to enter the electoral scene with V. Balakrishnan, formerly of Infosys, joining Aam Aadmi Party and Nandan Nilekani likely to be fielded by the Congress. If Congress ticket is confirmed for Mr. Nilekani from Bangalore South seat, then his rival in the contest is likely to be a technocrat from the IT sector. In all likelihood, the new entrants from among the technocrats will largely prefer to contest from urban constituencies in preference to the districts. The 28 Lok Sabha constituencies are spread across 30 districts with five of them (Bangalore North, Bangalore South, Bangalore Central and Bangalore Rural and Chickballapur) in the Bangalore Urban agglomeration.

Captain G.R. Gopinath (formerly of Air Deccan), who contested the last Lok Sabha elections as an independent from Bangalore South and who recently joined the Aam Aadmi Party, said that in all likelihood there may be new faces and they may perform well in the event of a wave, given the fact that the Aam Aadmi Party is yet to build its cadre in a manner required for parliamentary elections. Capt. Gopinath had once contested the Assembly elections in the past, as a candidate of the BJP in 1994 from Gandsi.

He said that the geographic size of the constituencies is quite large and a good presence is required if the candidates have to do well. The Aam Aadmi Party, which has decided to field candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, will study all these aspects over the next few days.

“As such I have not made up my mind to contest,” he said. In the last elections, Capt. Gopinath polled 18,000 votes against Ananth Kumar of the BJP and Krishna Byregowda of the Congress.

It should be noted that the rise of Mr. Nilekani in a political set-up has served as a fillip to technocrats assuming roles that are meant to be part of a democracy or policy-making bodies for the benefit of the people. Technocrats are also making a beeline to the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP as well.

The former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told The Hindu that the BJP has kept its doors open for new entrants who will also help the party gain the requisite numbers to emerge as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha.

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