Agenda for change3 min read . Updated: 18 Apr 2014, 07:17 PM IST
Voting for the right candidate in Bangalore
What remarkable choice we have in this election.
I think it is the doing of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and of Narendra Modi, who have both enthused people into standing (for and against) and certainly into voting.
And then we have the many professionals, who are coming into politics and getting debating space in the media. I love it, as I do just looking at the range on the ballot.
Is it just me or is it the same in your constituency? Mine is fully loaded with many electable people.
I was going through the options on the Bangalore website, which has a summary of candidates in my constituency. They included candidate biographies and a list of reports on each of them.
Bangalore Central has as its sitting MP the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) PC Mohan. He runs a famous ceramics business, and has assets of ₹ 47 crore. His website has on its masthead a photo of Mohan on the right and, by rotation, the photos of all the BJP leaders from Vajpayee to Advani to Modi to Rajnath, Jaitley and Sushma. That’s quite brave of Mohan, given the atmosphere.
Anyway, Congress is represented by 34-year-old Rizwan Arshad, my neighbour. He’s one of Rahul Gandhi’s picks and is worth ₹ 3 crore. AAP is represented by V Balakrishnan, formerly of Infosys (he’s got a great URL–aapkabala.com), worth ₹ 189 crore. Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (U) is fielding the dancer—and Vivek Oberoi’s mother-in-law—Nandini Alva, worth ₹ 80 crore.
All candidates look good and competent and are all graduates except for the BJP’s Mohan.
And so—as I said, a good spread. It’s of course true that Bangalore has, like Delhi, taken a lead over other cities in having professionals run for office.
We have Nandan Nilekani, Croesus-like in his wealth and Gates/Rockefeller-like in his charity. He also has experience in government with his time running the UID scheme, which we call Aadhar. A great candidate and I wish I could vote for him but there are two obstacles, both insurmountable. The first that he is not in my constituency, the second that he is not standing on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket.
As may be expected, citizenmatters.in has not included BSP in its list of major parties. The candidate is to be found on the BSPIndia.org website and it is Vijaya Bhaskar. He is 66 and not worth much, having 5 acres left to him and a house. He is an engineer with a BE.
I see from a report in The Hindu that he was also BSP candidate in 2009, which is a good sign. Not a turncoat. A search finds a YouTube video of him (spelled Vijay Bhaskar) campaigning in 2009. He speaks English softly, with a South Indian accent.
He says the constituency’s priorities are—traffic, electricity and infrastructure. Exactly right.
He is a realist and knowledgeable. He says: “Traffic is a state subject. I will have to prevail upon the state government to address the problem." I like him already.
He says sensible things for the other things as well. He says the biggest problems of India are poverty and internal security, for which the solution is high and sustained GDP growth and also higher per-capita income (someone immediately make this man prime minister).
He says of corruption that “It is universal and we can only prevent it, not eradicate it". Agreed 100%.
My due diligence is complete. Not that I wouldn’t consider voting for BSP anyway. I arrived at the conclusion some years ago that I had to surrender my share of power to them and that is what I have done. But it’s good to know that the instrument being empowered is a good man, a thinking man.
Voting in Bangalore is today (Thursday). By the time you read this, I’ll have already voted for the BSP and will be on the road to Madurai, to enjoy its psychedelic temples, its Jain caves and its military messes with their marrow omelettes.
Very good choices and options there too.
PS: On voting a little after 7 am I find that the BSP candidate is now R Mohan Raju. What happened? Nomination rejected? Not sure. Quick google at the booth (“one minute madam, so sorry"). R Mohan Raju is 52, an MA (got his post-graduate degree in 2011)... Net worth ₹ 67 lakh... (“Sir, please hurry").
I vote BSP, though am a little disappointed.