It was just a 10-minute speech at ThinkEdu Conclave, but UP Minister Abhishek Mishra became a popular figure at the venue after that. As the young politician emerged from the conference hall, cameras flashed and reporters gathered around him. One could see men and women, old and young, milling around him — some with smiling faces and a few with business cards.
With a PhD from Cambridge, a Masters Degree from Strathclyde Business School, the former IIM-A professor is now the State Science and Technology Minister. One of the top goals of the man, who quit IIM-A to contest elections from one of India’s BIMARU States, is to change the perception that politicuans are dirty.
“It is time we stopped politician bashing. Everywhere I go, I try to tell people this. When you constantly project the politician as corrupt and inefficient, talented people in the country will not be inclined to enter the field. Great political leaders are what India desperately needs,” he told CE during the two-day event.
He pointed out that in the best democracies, the greatest leaders in every field came into politics. “Even in India this was not the case till about 30 years ago. The best leaders, the best academicians, the entrepreneurs were all coming into politics in the country. But today, what we see is different and this is a dangerous trend,” he said.
Mishra added that there was a renewed interest among the youth today about politics. “I get as many as 3,000 messages a day on Facebook. About 70 per cent of the people who give feedback are young. There is a growing interest among the youth in politics.”
However, he also had a word of advice for people from non-political background entering politics. “Young people who want to enter politics must put in their best to prove their merit first. They need to excel in whatever they are doing, whatever field that might be in. Only that can help you win voters,” he said.
Speaking about the impact of public perceptions on corruption he said that when corruption was considered ‘standard’ by politicians, its led to an increase. “If honesty and a clean image are expected from them, at a psychological level it is quite difficult to be corrupt,” he added.
Mishra said that with the right amount of patience, politicians can deliver. “We are not here because of money or muscle power. There are people, who have elected and chosen us for the position. If we are not delivering you can choose to throw the politician concerned out. If we are given the time and the patience, we too can deliver as anyone else can,” he said.