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Practicing electoral politics in Bangalore city

Members of B.CLIP Advisory Board held a panel discussion on January 4. The session was moderated by Mr Jairaj and the speakers were Mr PGR Sindhia, Dr Rajeev Gowda, Mr Ashwin Mahesh, Mr RK Mishra, Mr Narayan Ramachandran along with B.PAC principals Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Mr Mohandas Pai. The discussion delved into india’s contemporary political reality and aimed to answer questions about venturing into politics and of working in it.

Mr PGR Sindhia compared the the JP movement of the past to the contemporary economic and political situation and employment. He elaborated on the fact that all of the above were fundamentally dependent on people’s anger and eventually that was what democracy depended on. He talked about how the anger and passion of the citizens would ensure that our democratic systems stay in place. On the question of how to win an election, Mr Sindhia said that we need to remember that 90 percent of the voters don’t vote for money but for issues. People often vote on the basis of sentiment or the latest issues or if they believe in the candidate.

Dr Rajeev Gowda spoke about how issues pertaining to the citizens have a macroeconomic effect, however,  at the micro level, it is all about the individual and the candidate. To connect with the electorate, it is important to get known, engage with the public and gain face. The crux of the matter is on building individual credibility. Another way is to bring expertise into the party. He also talked about the importance of tackling issues hands on and not just being a speaker.

Mr Ashwin Mahesh spoke about how to ensure one’s campaign is effective. He spoke about the different political phases in India.  He spoke about how in contemporary India there seemed to be no distinction between the government and the sarkar.  He talked about how people have  started to demand for direct participation in the democracy.

Mr Mahesh also emphasised on the multiple levels of the government that do not often communicate with one another. He mentioned that one of the reasons for state vulnerability was the fact that india was a diverse country with a growing population. He spoke about the demand for a large number of people who could solve problems within the city.  By catering to these factors, Mr Mahesh said that it would be easier to formulate one’s political campaign—to identify an issue and get the right people involved. He also spoke about how people have common concerns across the country—opportunity for children, employment for young adults, retirement pland and services for the aged and savings.  He concluded by saying that for an effective campaign,  it was important for a politician to address issues that are personal to the people and those that they can connect to.

Mr RK Mishra spoke about his own experiences and transition from a corporate career into a political one. He spoke about his own realisations about the difficulties of being involved in a political life. He also emphasised on the importance of financial stability and passion, to sustain oneself in the political arena. Mr Mishra also spoke about how it was the time for the political parties to realise that they needed to change and give space to new and fresh people and ideas. Mr Mishra also talked about how there is a demand in India for young, adept people to foray into politics.