IIT, IIM alumni to join poll fray
Lucknow (PTI): After businessmen, dancers, eunuchs and teachers, the colourful Indian political bandwagon will get a touch of intelligentsia in the coming polls with alumni of the elite IITs and IIMs planning to test their electoral fortunes.
While the Bharat Punarnirman Dal, a political party founded by a group of former IITians has announced its first list of eight candidates for the coming Lok Sabha polls, students from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow are actively involved in managing election campaigns of different political parties.
"BPD will be contesting at least 20 seats from Uttar Pradesh and at least 40 across the country on the platform of good governance, restoration of ethics in politics and opposition to caste based reservation," party president Ajit Ashwalayan Shukla, an M.Tech from IIT Mumbai, told PTI.
The party had contested the 2007 assembly polls in UP and had got a vote share of 2.5 per cent.
Giving details about the BPD's candidates, Shukla said, "The candidates for Lucknow, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Varanasi, East Delhi, South Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar have been finalised. Talks with other prospective candidates are on and candidates for other seats including Deoria, Kushinagar and Gorakhpur will be announced soon."
Among the alumni testing their political fortunes is 1994 passout Ranjan Chaudhary, who specialised in human resources and finance. He has been declared as the BJP candidate from Mohanlalganj Lok Sabha constituency in UP.
"I had joined politics in May 2004 with the Congress and was initially involved as a backstage manager and in desiging party strategy for UP. Later on I was in the constituency management team of Amethi and Rae Bareilly," Chaudhury told PTI.
In October 2008, he parted ways with the Congress.
Asked how being a management graduate has helped him at the grassroots, Chaudhary said, "Management has helped us to look at the problems from all angles."
Prior to joining politics Ranjan had taught HR and practised finance in Australia. He was also a member of the board of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad.
Another IIML passout Vaibhav Agarwal, who did his specialisation in agri-business management, is looking after BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani's campaign in the state's colleges.
"My main job is to link the students in the state for the party's campaign 'Advani@campus'. We have also joined hands with R K Misra (the winner of Lead India) under a forum called 'Change India', whose aim will be to sustain the intensity of campaigns which were taken out after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks," Agarwal, who has been made the state convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, said.
Among students and recent pass outs, a stint with a political party is being considered an ideal form of internship.
Terming politics as more "challenging" than marketing, Annamalai Kuppusamy, a first year student of IIML, said he will doing an internship with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kalagam (DMDK), a party floated in 2005 by actor Vijayakant.
"My main job during my stint with the DMDK will be to ensure that there is no communication gap especially between voters and partymen, as unlike other political parties we are not in the habit of promising freebies," Kuppuswamy said.
The job also involves suggesting remedial measures in case there is a communication gap, he said.
"This internship will be quite challenging, as managing people is certainly more challenging than selling a product in the market," he said.
A 2009 passout from IIM Lucknow in marketing, Honey Arun, whose mother is a BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh, plans to do an internship with the BJP in Delhi.
Arun said, "I have seen politics from very close quarters and hence I am interested in it. It is very easy to criticise people, but I want to set a role model and send a clear and clean message to society."