The Bangalore Political Action Committee (BAPC), an initiative launched by the business community of the IT capital of the nation, has made the right beginning through the Karnataka Assembly polls. While 5 members of national political parties endorsed by BPAC won the elections, 3 others, who contested for the first time from the Lok Satta party, made an impressive start.
Unhappy with the state of affairs in Karnataka and private sector investment drying up, the business community backed 14 candidates from different political parties seeking “cleaner administration” and “improved governance”. They not only financially support the candidates but also campaigned for them.
Of the 14 candidates, C Krishna Byre Gowda (Congress), Dinesh Gundu Rao (Congress), B N Vijay Kumar (BJP), S Suresh Kumar (BJP) and Dr. C.N. Ashwathnarayana (BJP) won from different constituencies of Bangalore. Though all of them are experienced politicians, the fact that they were backed by the BPAC, which comprised eminent personalities like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson, Biocon; T V Mohandas Pai, former Member of the Board of Directors, Infosys; fashion guru Prasad Bidappa; sports commentator Charu Sharma and entrepreneur R K Mishra was the differentiator.
What is even more impressive is the performance of 3 Lok Satta candidates, who contested the elections for the first time. Entrepreneur Ashwin Mahesh, who contested from the Bommanahalli constituency, offered a tough fight to the BJP and the Congress by bagging 11,915 votes. He emerged third beating even the Janata Dal (Secular) and Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) candidates. He secured 6.75 per cent of the total votes polled.
Similarly, Dr. Meenakshi Bharath, a well-known gynaecologist, who contested from the Malleshwaram constituency, stood third with 7,610 votes. (7 per cent of total votes polled). She too managed to emerge ahead of the JD-S and KJP candidates. Shantala Dhamale, a techie, who contested from Basavanagudi, managed to win 9071 votes to stand in the fourth position ((8.76 per cent of total votes polled).
This group was satisfied with their performance. “We had to make a beginning somewhere and we have made the right beginning. We have to consolidate going forward,” pointed out Ashwin Mahesh.
According to political historian, Dr. A. Veerappa, BAPC is a good political experiment that needs to be sustained. “We have seen such initiatives in the past. But these eminent personalities have to continue their support for the electoral system so that candidates with clean reputation continue to enter the fray and weed out those deemed unfit. The Bangalore electorate has responded positively to this initiative,” he added.
The BPAC maintained that it would continue to extend support to the candidates and that its next target would be the Parliament polls in 2014.