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Home > India > News > Report

Intellectuals seek votes to make a difference

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | April 16, 2008 03:48 IST

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A political party of intellectuals! Well if you thought this concept was extinct, here is a party in Karnataka, which is only nominating educated professionals as candidates to fight the forthcoming elections in the state.

The Lok Paritran Party, which has been in existence in Karnataka for the past two years, will be fielding 20 candidates to contest elections only in Bangalore city, which has as many constituencies.

The party, which was started by IIT graduates Tanmayraj Purohit, Chandrashekhar and other likeminded students, will focus on issues such as corruption and education. The party hopes to poll at least 6 per cent votes so that it would be recognized by the Election Commission.

State party president B N Naganna, an engineer by profession, spoke to rediff.com about the party's plans and how it plans to go about this much-hyped up election in Karnataka.

Agenda:
Naganna says they would like to ensure that the minimum wages of people working in the unorganized sector should be fixed at Rs 25 per hour. Only this way would there be a social balance in society, he says.

They would also concentrate on the SEZs and would press upon the government to give 25 per cent of the share to the land owners. Apart from this they would also like to connect all districts in Karnataka with four lane roads, so that investments into the state of Karnataka would increase.

On the education front, they would like to increase the number of schools and also ensure that there is a computer centre in every school in Karnataka. Also on their agenda is to give more power to the Lokayukta so that the institution is used better to wipe out corruption in the state.

Karnataka debt:
Naganna said that in the year 1999, Karnataka had a debt of Rs 12,500 crore. However, since then the amount has gone up to Rs 60,000 crore. Per day, Karnataka pays an interest of Rs 15 crore towards the debt and in one year the sum is a whooping Rs 5600 crore.

The party feels that this is a disturbing trend and needs to be acted upon.

A study conducted by the party also goes on to show that the corruption amount in every budget is Rs 10,000 crore. We need to find ways to avoid this. As per our calculation if this amount is saved and used wisely, then the 60 lakh people living Below Poverty Line can be provided houses.

Election hopes:
The party contested the elections for the first time in Chennai. Naganna said they fared pretty well and were hopeful of doing better in Bangalore.

Naganna added that they do not plan to contest from any other part of the state and would concentrate just on the metros as they feel that the decision-making power lies over here.

In Bangalore, the party chief says, they have built a base over the past two years. They would only carry out door to door campaigns.

The party, at present, has 20,000 members in it most of who are IT professionals and other educated professionals.

Naganna says they are very choosy while issuing tickets to candidates and the main aspects that they look into while doing so is the educational background. Candidates should also be visionaries, he adds.

So far the party has found four candidates and hopes to fill up the rest in the coming days.

Although the Election Commission has limited the spending limit per candidate to Rs 10 lakh, this party says it would allow its candidates to spend just Rs 2.5 lakh. The party feels that in case a higher amount is allowed to be spent by each candidate, he would try and recover it if he comes to power, which in turn would give birth to corruption in the party.

When asked as to how the funds for the party are trickling in, Naganna said that there have been contributions from individuals who think alike. He also says that there are a few industrialists who have helped them with funds.

Tapping the IT sector:
The party would look for votes from those working in the IT sector.

Over the years it has, however, been proven that many working in the IT sector do not cast their vote.

Naganna says there is a momentum that is on at present and things are gradually changing. He says that people in this sector have realized that they need to vote in order to make a difference and one could witness the change during this election.







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