City Express shoots six election-related questions to distinguished Bangaloreans
Personally, which Lok Sabha election has been your most memorable so far? Why?
The most memorable was the election after the Emergency when people joined hands with the Janata Party to throw Indira Gandhi out. Her government was a fount of corruption---she had become dictatorial, she tried to bend the Constitution. She had made parliament powerless and taken the system into her own hands.
Which election, in your view, has provided the biggest turning point in the history of India?
The elections after the Emergency undoubtedly provided a turning point in the history of India, but for the worse. It was after this election that the morality of all the political parties came under question. When the Janata Party tried to advice on issues, Morarji Desai actually said something to the effect of ‘Who are you to tell me, I’m the Prime Minister?’ This regime was responsible for bringing about and firmly establishing a change for the worse in the political system.
What issues would you want the three MPs from Bangalore to address?
All the facilities that are provided currently in the name of development are meant for the well-to-do. But where does the common man figure in all this? I can’t even walk or cycle somewhere because there are no footpaths and cycle lanes. When I cross the road, it’s with bated breath. There’s so much pollution, all of us will have to wear gas masks soon. For whom are you doing all this? The rich may get by, but the poor can’t breathe. There are too many vehicles on the roads; this should be regulated.
Also, all the industries and other companies are concentrated in Bangalore. They should be decentralised and distributed in all the district headquarters to mitigate the load on Bangalore. Take Hosur as an example. It was almost a village. There’s no sea, port or even a river there, but look at how well it has been developed now. That’s what our politicians should too.
I took part in the freedom movement, and Gandhi’s vision was to bring freedom to the country so that it could be brought out of poverty. But now, we’re told that 30 per cent of our people are below the poverty line. When so many five-year plans have collectively widened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots, it’s time that they pushed for two five-year plans to benefit the poor.
Do you think the Congress, BJP, JD(S) and AAP have chosen their Bangalore candidates well?
Absolutely not. If one party decides not to give tickets to a person, another party does. They’re putting out criminals. I have lost faith in all parties now. I want to see change; people are gearing up for change.
Most candidates are either BJP candidates or Congress candidates and so on. I can hardly relate to any of them: they are not my candidates; they are not the people’s candidates. On the whole, I think AAP is doing a fairly good job, consulting the people before they give someone a ticket. But even they are just catalysts to a journey back to democracy, not the solution.
Have you ever considered contesting elections? Which politicians do you know personally, and what do you think of their prospects?
No. But I am acquainted with Bangalore North candidates C Narayanaswamy (Congress) and Babu Mathew (AAP), who are both fine gentlemen, and I think that they’re fairly popular too.
What do you foresee in Delhi after the vote count on May 16?
All the corrupt candidates should be defeated, so that, henceforth, parties think twice before selecting the rich and corrupt to stand for elections. I am also confident that AAP will win 50 seats, become a moral group that will transform the working of the Parliament. I think we can look forward to sensible discussions, not merely walk-outs followed by bills being passed.
(As told to Chetana Divya Vasudev)