Yes says Captain, G.R. Gopinath.
Listening is a biggest asset to act or not act on an issue. If we listen next two or three months probably we can act well over next five years on who have fooled us and who haven’t. Also interestingly who have learned to lead or represent us who haven’t?
The following are excerpt.
“What was the trigger (for jumping into the contest)?
I was in Mumbai when the dastardly terrorist attack took place. I also saw the attacks on churches and minorities in Karnataka and how the administration failed to act. The recent attack on women in pubs at Mangalore was the final trigger... When a clerk in my office told me that instead of complaining, we should act, I decided.
You were earlier with the BJP. Why as an independent now?
Even this time around the BJP offered me a ticket, though from a different constituency. Other parties, too, approached me to contest. But I feel that the (political) parties have failed the people. All of them state lofty ideals but none of them sticks to it. In 1994, I was a progressive farmer when the BJP, which didn’t have much presence (here), approached and convinced me to contest elections. I toured 410 villages in a short time but lost elections. Eventually, I became disillusioned with the party and quit in the same year.
We have to change the political system. We want our children to be engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs—anything but politicians. We have to change that.
There is talk that you are being propped up by Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to defeat his internal party rival Ananth Kumar.
(Angrily) I am nobody’s stooge; I will not prostitute myself.
Why Lok Sabha? Karnataka has sent several industrialists such as M.A.M. Ramaswamy, Vijay Mallya and Rajeev Chandrasekhar to the Upper House. Wouldn’t that have been the easy route ?
Let us be clear. It is no secret that most of them bought their seats either by funding parties or selling their souls. I want the people to elect me.
How do you intend to fund your campaign?
With my own money. I will spend Rs25 lakh. The interesting thing is that young and old people across caste, class, community barriers are volunteering their time and money for the campaign.
Have you got support from your fellow entrepreneurs?
NRN (N.R. Narayana Murthy, non-executive chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd) is travelling but has expressed support. Others such as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (chairman and managing director of Biocon Ltd), Ramesh Ramanathan (co-founder of non-profit institution Janaagraha and a Mint columnist), T.V. Mohandas Pai (human resources head of Infosys), Pradeep Kar (chairman and managing director of Microland Ltd) and Prasad Bidappa (fashion designer) are actively participating and brainstorming for the campaign”.