City Express shoots six election-related questions to distinguished Bangaloreans
Personally, which Lok Sabha election has been your most memorable so far? Why?
It’s difficult to say, really. Until now, there hasn’t been much of a difference between the best and the worst candidates. This time, I think it’s a little more interesting. People have more of a choice on whom they can vote for.
Which election, in your view, has proved the biggest turning point in the history of India?
Recently, there’s been nothing. One would have to go back to the 1970s, the elections right after the Emergency.
What issues would you want the three MPs from Bangalore to address?
I would like to state first that I hope a candidate who represents a truly secular party comes to power, one that is as little corrupt--I wouldn’t say free of corruption because we live in the real world--as possible, one that will really put people ahead of itself. Having said that, I think that there’s a lot to be done in the field of education. There should be more grants, better educational institutions. There should be a good education minister who can oversee the establishment of a body to bring about change. Art and culture requires government patronage for its survival. Diversity should be encouraged: the arts and culture should not become monolithic. And the MPs should ensure that media and writers are free. Gagging writers for talking about a god or a prophet is not something I’m for. Security of women is another issue I want them to address.
Do you think the Congress, BJP, JD(S) and AAP have chosen their Bangalore candidates well?
I wouldn’t say all of them have chosen their candidates well, but it is heartening that some are here with the intent of bringing about social change, and not merely to make a quick buck. Many of them are more enlightened, intelligent and more educated than their predecessors.
Moreover, they are familiar with the urban scene and could probably bring about better infrastructure to cater to the need of the hour.
What AAP tried to do in Delhi has brought about the change, though I don’t think that party is the solution to all our problems. But they have got the established parties in jitters as they know that now people too want honest politicians. Perhaps AAP can check corruption to an extent, not make the country corruption-free because it’s not just the politicians who are corrupt today; the people are corrupt too, all too willing to sell their votes. I’ve had first-hand experience of this even among the middle class.
Have you ever considered contesting elections? Which politicians do you know personally, and what do you think of their prospects?
No. I’ve never been attracted to politics that way. I’d rather stick to my field of cultural activities. But I am interested in being politically aware, know what’s happening in the country and how politics, in various ways, affect us.
I do know quite a lot of politicians. Of those contesting from Bangalore, I know Narayanaswamy to be an extremely decent, and Nilekani, who I think is one of the better candidates.
I don’t know about Rizwan, and Ananth Kumar, I’ve heard enough not to want him back in power. I also know Sadananda Gowda, who’s well-meaning, but he’s in the wrong party for me.
What do you foresee in Delhi after the vote count on May 16?
I think we should be prepared for a few shocks. With this whole atmosphere of anti-incumbency, people are being swept away by promises. So many want to give BJP another chance; they have forgotten all about what happened in Gujarat and Godhra, even Muslims, which I could never do.
I really don’t want BJP to win, but I have a sneaking suspicion they might, what with the media, especially TV channels, going all out and promoting Modi. But I would like to believe that it’s just an urban phenomenon.