Senior banker offers to be Mumbai’s CEO

Meera H Sanyal,chairperson and country executive,ABN Amro,is on leave till May 15. The reason behind the leave application....

Written by Alaka Sahani | Mumbai | Published: March 26, 2009 1:08:46 am

Meera H Sanyal,chairperson and country executive,ABN Amro,is on leave till May 15. The reason behind the leave application: she will be “contesting for the most important job” — that of running the country. This Malabar Hill resident will soon be filing nomination papers as an Independent candidate from the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency.

After 25 successful years in banking,Sanyal’s move can’t be seen as a mere itch for a career switch. Instead,it’s an alert and bright citizen’s response to the call of making a difference. “Politics was not considered to be a dirty world when India got Independence. The best and brightest minds were in this field,” says the daughter of a Naval officer. “For long,Mumbai has wanted a CEO to take care of its affairs,here is one for them,” she says.

The 46-year-old banker has been toying with the idea of joining politics for a while now. The 26/11 attacks were the trigger.

“This is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Lots of planning went into it,” discloses Sanyal.

The impeccably dressed banker talks passionately about her commitment to the city,where she has spent most of her life. “The city has been neglected in every sphere. Even after so many attacks and flooding of the city,the administration has not learnt its lessons,” says Sanyal,who will give up her job if elected.

Though the city contributes Rs 40,000 crore in taxes to the state and central governments,it gets an inadequate Rs 1,000 crore of capital expenditure every year,she says. With the ease of someone who has dealt with numbers for over two decades,she presents more figures to show how the city has been neglected.

With husband Ashish Sanyal as the head of her campaign,she launched her campaign online on Monday. On the site,she is posted as a citizens’ candidate with “Let’s get Mumbai back on track” as tagline. It has a masterplan for the city,too. The response in the last 24 hours has been encouraging with the visitors

at applauding her decision.

A boost to her campaign has come from a Facebook group. Satyen V Kothari,who sent out invites,says,“A professional of some repute and intelligence trying to do her bit despite our political theater. She hasn’t announced her agenda but the very concept needs to be supported.”

Firm on honouring the Election Commission’s ceiling of Rs 25 lakh,Sanyal’s self-funded campaign will be making optimum use of her website and network sites to spread the word.

The senior banker,who will be pitted against Milind Deora of the Congress,and most likely Mohan Rawle of the Shiv Sena,is keen on getting the alienated South Mumbai electorate to cast their votes. “They should refrain from voting citing lack of choice in candidates. It’s not about voting for Meera,but being part of the electoral process.”

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