Two Bangalorean radio jockeys have tried their luck at the hustings and failed, but that hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm for the electoral process.
RJ Rakesh, who does a comic act as Professor Ulfat Sultan on Radio One, and RJ Rohit Patel, popular as Rockstar Rohit on Big FM, wanted to taste politics up close and personal and contested elections in 2009 and 2013 respectively.
Today 31-year-old Rakesh is a programming manager and remains a popular RJ. He told City Express his views on contesting the 2009 BBMP elections from Ward No 89 - Jogupalaya.
“Firstly, I wanted to bring some fresh blood into the system. We all sit and complain, but really don’t clean up the mess. We just wanted to get down to do it. Secondly, a majority of the country’s population being youngsters, I thought it would be better if youths rule it instead of people double our age taking over the country,” he told City Express.
Rohit contested the 2013 Assembly election from Jayanagar on a Loksatta party ticket. “Politics has become more like a family business and not many youngsters are coming forward to join politics. Today, people who are in power are not able to do anything. To break that, I went as a common man and contested with the support of 100 youngsters,” he said.
About the subsequent defeat, he said, “I knew the reality of it. But at no point of time, the reality could stop me from contesting the election. The first time, you lose, the second time, you make others lose and the third time you win. This is the average record of any successful politician. Though I knew that I am not going to win, I was determined to put in the effort. It was more to mobilise the youth,” he said.
Rohit believes defeat comes when a person stops trying. “The basic idea behind contesting is that we wanted a new party. There was a perception that there are only two parties, the Congress and the BJP, and no space for the youth. I selected Jayanagar because the people are more educated there and have a sharp voting sense. Sadly, people who were supposed to exercise their right, did not come out,” he said.
Rakesh hopes to get back into the fray. “I will contest in the next BBMP elections. An attempt to win the local election will take me to the State and then to the national level.
Rohit too has not lost hope and wants to contest the next election.
“Right now, I am doing some social work. Through our page Youth against Corruption, We are trying to solve problems in different areas.”
Both RJs were very well supported by their managements and continue to enjoy their jobs.
“Radio jockeying is a profession to interact with people. As RJs, we do make a difference. The office was very supportive and gave me a good sabbatical for about three months. Today, I am still doing social work, be it on radio or off radio,” Rakesh said.
Rohit added, “When I joined the company six years ago, I made it clear that I wanted to do social service. My whole intention is to make a difference and my company was very supportive.”
And what about these elections? “Right now, I am hosting a programme called ‘Bangalore 20/20’, which basically envisions how Bangalore will be in 2020. Here, we are featuring social activists and political leaders who want to make a difference irrespective of the party they represent. We have people like Mohandas Pai and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw,” Rakesh said.
“We are not propagating any political agendas or parties. All we are trying to tell people is to vote for the right candidate. We have a segment where people will tell us real-life corruption stories. We invite first-time voters to co-host shows with us,” he added.
‘No Tension with Rockstar Rohit’ is a popular show aired everyday between 5 and 9 pm.
How is Rohit easing the tension of election during his show?
“I cannot speak about any party or candidates. I speak about leaders who have done good work. We also have a campaign called ‘Wake Up and Vote’, where we are visiting different areas of Bangalore creating awareness about the importance of voting.”
“We have roped in some film celebrities who are talking about election and voting,” Rohit said.