Triple graduates, foreign educated among Independent candidates in Bengaluru

Updated - April 16, 2024 07:56 am IST

Published - April 15, 2024 07:26 pm IST - Bengaluru

Harisha Gowda

Harisha Gowda | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sudha V.

Sudha V. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Tintisha Hemachandra Sagar

Tintisha Hemachandra Sagar | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Vasanth Kumar E.

Vasanth Kumar E. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

While the qualifications and assets of candidates from major political parties are widely discussed in the days leading up to elections, for this year’s Lok Sabha polls, at least eight Independent candidates with high educational qualifications, many who have studied abroad, are contesting from various constituencies in Bengaluru.

Each of these candidates have been campaigning on specific issues they want to address, while many see this contest as a stepping stone for their political careers. If they make a mark as an Independent in the fray, a mainstream political party may pick them in the days ahead, they hope.

Harisha Gowda (MBBS, MS), Subrahmanya Kumar K. (MBA from U.K. varsity and B.Pharm), Tintisha Hemachandra Sagar (MBA from Columbia University), and K.C. Janardhan (BA, PGDM-MM and PGDM-IR) are among the Independents contesting from Bengaluru South constituency. 

Bengaluru South

Dr. Gowda has been a surgeon for 20 years now. On his decision to contest as an Independent, he said: “The sad state of public healthcare facilities and rampant corruption has pushed me into contesting elections to bring about policy changes. Established political parties are responsible for the sorry state of affairs today. So, any change from within the existing political party framework would be difficult.” Dr. Gowda said he is funding his campaign from his savings. He said people were tired of corrupt politicians and party-centric politics and more dedicated, Independent candidates need to come forward to provide people a meaningful alternative.

While some Independents say they will not join political parties, some of them have kept their options open.

Ms. Sagar is the daughter of D. Hemachandra Sagar, Chancellor of Daynanda Sagar University and former BJP MLA from Chickpet in 2008, who contested the seat from JD(S) in 2018. She believes that politics is the way to reach the masses and work on an exponential level, unlike private organisations where the scope is limited. “The JD(S) has a stronghold in rural areas whereas I am contesting from Bengaluru South. It made more sense to contest Independently,” she said. When asked if she will consider aligning with the JD(S) or other political parties in the future, she said it was up to her voters.

Bengaluru North

From Bengaluru North constituency, well-qualified Independents are Sudha V. (B.Com, BA, MBA, B.Ed. and DEO) and K.V. Nanjundaswamy (Master of Library and Information Sciences).  

Ms. Sudha, who works as a school principal, is contesting the elections with the hope of bringing reforms in the education sector. “People already have bad opinions about political parties. Hence, I decided to contest as an Independent,” she said. However, she does not rule out joining a political party entirely. “If I win and I get a good chance from a political party which aligns with my principles, then I might consider joining them,” she said.  

Bengaluru Central

Jayalakshmi M., advocate (MSW, LLM), and Vasanth Kumar E., HR professional (MBA), are among the prominent Independent candidates from Bengaluru Central constituency.  

Mr. Kumar is not primarily a political person. But after experiencing corruption at many government offices, he decided to contest the elections. He worked in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for six months and voluntarily walked out, after the recent elections were announced. “The political parties today have combined religion, community, and party, which is why I want to contest as an Independent,” he said.

Visibility a challenge

Most Independent candidates complain about lack of reach and visibility of their campaign to voters. “The focus is always on two major parties – be it among the citizens or the media. The citizens do not know who the other candidates are and the media does not make any efforts to create awareness. No one cares about Independent candidates,” Mr. Kumar complained.

While all candidates in the fray maintain they are contesting to win, history doesn’t seem to be in their favour. Karnataka has till date elected only three Independent MPs - S.M. Siddappa from Bijapur North in 1957, Dinakara Desai from Canara Lok Sabha constituency in 1967, and Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya in 2019. In the instances of Mr. Desai and Ms. Sumalatha, mainstream parties had withdrawn from the fray and supported them.

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