Its less than a fortnight to go, before India goes for poll and decides the party and its men who would form the next government.
There are those who are flooding blogs like CnC with 'vote-for-me' ads and getting mention in the national media mainly for pre-poll controversies and law disobeying rally. There are a few in the election arena this year who are already 'leaders' in their fields and are now in the fray to become 'politicians'. Here is a CnC exclusive of a few favourites:
1. Sashi Tharoor:
A writer and former U.N. under-secretary general, is rolling up his sleeves to contest as Congress candidate from Thiruvananthapuram in Left-ruled Kerala state.
In 2006, he was the official candidate of India for the office of United Nations Secretary-General, and came second out of seven official candidates in the race. Tharoor served as the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information between June 2002 and February 2007, during the term of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The author, journalist, and fellow of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, has had his eye on a more local political role since his return to his home state.
Born in London, he studied at Montfort School in Yercaud and Campion School in Mumbai, attended High School at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi where he stood first in the University, graduating with a record score in History (Honours).
While at St. Stephen’s Tharoor was actively involved in the Debating Society, where he won every single debating prize available, the Quiz Club, which he founded, and the Students’ Union, of which he was the elected President. He then completed a Ph.D. at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, where he also earned two Master’s degrees. His Ph.D. was awarded when he was 22, a Fletcher record.
Tharoor will be contesting against P. Ramachandran Nair of CPI and P. K. Krishna Das of Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP).
Click here to reach Shashi Tharoor
2. Meera Sanyal:
Meera is currently the Chairperson and Country Executive for ABN AMRO Bank (now RBS) in India, responsible for over 9,500 staff in 40 locations across 24 cities. Prior to this, she was the Chief Operations Officer for the Asia Pacific region responsible for the IT, Operations and Property services for 16 countries in the region. As an Investment banker she has worked both in India and within the Asian region on a number of Project finance, Advisory and M&A mandates.
· AMP Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School, Class Valedictorian October 2006
· FCIB: Fellow Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK, February 1996
· ACIB: Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK, February 1989
· MBA: INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France; Graduated with Honors on the Deans List December 1983
She will contest from South Mumbai, an upmarket locality and the main business district, as an independent candidate.
On a month’s leave of absence as she dabbles in politics, Sanyal will go toe-to-toe with Congress incumbent Milind Deora, the son of the oil minister, with Facebook groups and her husband speaheading her campaign. She said she found it difficult to align herself with the ideologies of the big parties.
She was apparently inspired to do so by the strong reaction of the general population after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, when the people poured out into the streets to protest the fact that they had been taken for granted for the longest time, demanding answers from the powers that be.
Click here to reach Meera Sanyal
3. Mallika Sarabhai
That thought is echoed also by Mallika Sarabhai, a reputed dancer, who is contesting as an independent in Gandhinagar in Gujarat state, taking on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani. Daughter of classical danseuse Mrinalini Sarabhai and the renonwned space scientist, Vikram Sarabhai, Mallika Sarabhai is a renowned Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer.
Winner of several national and international awards and accolades, popular being –
· Crystal Award by World Economic Forum, 2008 for recognition of her contribution in art and culture to promote global peace.
· Theatre Pasta Theatre Awards,2007
· Nominated as one among 1000 women for Nobel Peace Prize ,2005
· Indian for Collective Actions Honour Award,, 2004
· Kala Shiromani Purskar , Institute of Economic Studies,2004
· Woman of the Year , Indian Merchants’ Chamber (IMC),2003
· Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters, French Government 2002
amongst many others.
She studied at St Xaviers College in her home town of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state.
The multi-faceted Mallika holds an MBA and a doctorate from IIM Ahmedabad and has experience in acting, film-making, editing, and television anchoring.
She has worked with victims of the 2002 communal riots in which about 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were hacked and burned to death. She has been vocal in her opposition to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, said she was against criminalisation of politics and wanted to bring the common man back into focus.
She also has support groups on Facebook, and a website, and while she is not expected to win, she has promised to fight.
Click here to reach Mallika Sarabhai
4. Capt. Gopinath
The Managing Director of Air Deccan is a graduate of the National Defence Academy and has served the Indian Army. He is considered the father of low cost air travel in India. He created a whole new market when he launched India's first low cost airline, Air Deccan.
Gopinath, who made the common man fly, is taking off as a politician again. In 1994, Gopinath contested the assembly elections from Gandasi in Hassan district on a BJP ticket, but lost.
He feels, “None of the political parties represent the aspirations of a new, young and emerging India, who are frustrated with what they have.”
Many support groups have come up in Bangalore for Gopinath. Young citizens and professionals can be seen distributing 'tokens' and pamphlets in front of popular shopping malls with a smile on their faces and hope in their hearts.
Click here to reach Capt. Gopinath