'Many corporate figures, who are not full-fledged businessmen, have felt the need to make a change in the system. That’s why they are joining the AAP," Air Deccan founder Captain Gopinath, who joined the Aam Aadmi Party on January 3, tells Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa
Captain Gopinath, founder of Air Deccan and pioneer of low-cost airlines in India, is the latest corporate honcho to join the Aam Admi Party.
This is not the first political foray for the retired captain of the Indian Army. He had contested unsuccessfully as an independent candidate from Bangalore South constituency in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
In this interview, Captain Gopinath explains that he joined the AAP as he wanted to “follow his heart and make a difference”.
What prompted you to take another plunge into politics?
If one needs to make a difference then one has to be part of the system which runs it. Corruption is an issue that needs to be addressed.
I took part in the anti-corruption movement when both (activist) Anna Hazare and (Delhi chief minister and AAP founder) Arvind Kejriwal were part of it. My heart went out to that cause and I decided I should follow my heart.
I joined the Aam Admi Party as it felt right to do so.
Last time, the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai had forced me to sit up and realise that something needed to be done desperately. I had felt helpless when I watched the terror attack unfold. That’s why I had contested the elections from Bangalore South.
Last time you had contested as an independent. How different is it to be part of a political party?
Basically, it’s only the work you do that matters. In the Aam Admi Party, each leader is serious about eradicating corruption. Most problems that plague India arise due to corruption.
I am not an unknown face in the AAP. I have known most of the party’s leaders and hence it is not unfamiliar terrain for me.
A lot of bigwigs from the corporate sector are joining the Aam Admi Party. What are your thoughts on this development?
It is a welcome move. I feel happy that a lot of people are interested in making this change. I hope more people from the corporate sector come into the fray and help make a difference.
Isn’t it surprising that while most of India Inc supports Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, so many corporate leaders are opting to join the AAP?
I believe that the trend will change to some extent. India Inc has supported Narendra Modi this time as they feel that he is friendly to the industry.
In the past, the industry has supported both the Congress and the BJP since they were not sure which party will win the elections. They wanted to be on the safer side.
I do not know what the stand of India Inc is towards the Aam Aadmi Party. But many corporate figures, who are not full-fledged businessmen, have felt the need to make a change in the system. That’s why they are joining the AAP.
The last time you had said that your decision to contest the polls was symbolic, that your victory or defeat was immaterial. Is that your stance this time too?
I decided to join the AAP to make a difference and strengthen the fight against corruption. Bangalore is a very pro-active city that supports people who address such issues.
What will be your role in the AAP?
I have just joined the party. We have not decided anything (on my role) as it is too early. I will accept whatever role is given to me and will try to do my best.
You had lost the Lok Sabha election last time. Do you think that will hamper your future electoral prospects?
Such issues do not worry me. At the moment, I am not clear about what role I will play. The idea is to work for the party. Winning and losing is part of the game.
I am confident about contesting the elections. But such a decision is yet to be taken.
How do you think the AAP will fare in Bangalore?
Bangalore has a young and exciting voter base which is seeking a change. The Aam Aadmi Party is capable of change. I am sure that voters from Bangalore will subscribe to the views held by the party. I am confident that the AAP will do well.