By: Kaunain Sheriff
Former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan, who is now an AAP candidate for the Bangalore central constituency, is the most high profile AAP candidate fielded in the current Lok Sabha polls from Karnataka. The former executive spoke to Kaunain Sheriff M on his sudden jump into politics and what he expects to achieve:
Having worked for more than two decades in the corporate world, why politics?
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The idea of AAP was the reason for me to join. Even the corporates work with government but there is very little you can do being outside the system. Externally, the ability to bring about a change is very hard. Therefore politics — especially the AAP, which stands for clean governance — was an automatic choice.
There was reluctance in your family, especially your mother, about you contesting. What made you take the final decision?
Politics as a career is perceived with negativity in the middle-class families. The dirt associated with politics was a reason behind the reluctance. But then AAP has brought in a wi-nd of change in the political system, it doesn’t stand for what traditional politics is perceived. Hence I was able to convince the family about my decision.
Your colleague Mohandas Pai had said Nandan Nilekeni contesting from the Congress is like getting a person imposed from above who has not done any grass root work. Your entry is also on the same lines?
People like us have no baggage and no legacy to defend. Yes, people will criticize about not having experience. Even in corporates a new CEO is inducted to bring some fresh air into the company. Its all about balance.
What will be your election agenda. What do have to say to the voters?
Corruption is the key issue. There is anger amongst the voters. My constituency faces problems related to infrastructure, power, water. The problems continue to exist due to corruption. As an MP, I should be able to bridge this gap and bring in a system to implement the projects and policies.
Central Bangalore has a significant minority electorate. The winnablity here depends on various electoral equations. How different would your campaign be?
True, elections are fought on money power, muscle power and caste equations. But our campaign will be fought on issues. An MP has multiple roles to play. The real issue is how to improve transparency in spending and how to build such an ecosystem.
What are your views on FDI in retail sector?
This is a complex issue. Small traders get affected due to FDI. In Delhi elections it was in the party manifesto to protect the local traders. Even BJP has not been able to build consensus on this. But if we have efficient data showing benefits to the local traders, definitely we should discuss and debate it.
How different are these polls after AAP’s victory in Delhi?
This general election will be very significant. Someone told me that the calender of 1947 resembles that of 2014. Definitely, this election will bring in a change in the political system.
In case you lose these elections. Will you continue?
I will contribute to the party as a member. I am here for a long innings.