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Back to roots, for a cause

delhi Updated: Apr 03, 2012 01:52 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times
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They gave up a cushy life abroad to take on political hurdles. While many do not consider municipal elections to be very significant, for these three candidates, the polls are the road to change.

Armed with foreign degrees, they are hoping to change the corporation’s functioning by focussing on urban planning and garbage management.

One of the three candidates, Bodh Saraswat is as an independent candidate supported by Lok Satta party. He is contesting from municipal ward Matiala, which includes Dwarka sectors 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10.

The 31-year-old architect, who had been working in the USA, came back to the city in 2010. “I could have stayed in the US, but I chose to come back because I wanted to provide sanitation and infrastructure to Indian cities. This is why I decided to enter politics,” he said.

Saraswat did his schooling in Nainital and is a post-graduate in city design from University of Colorado, Denver. After completing his studies, he worked for two years in the US, specialising in areas such as garbage management, waste water management, horticulture and other urban issues.

“In USA, municipal elections are given as much importance as national level ones. The youth plays a pivotal role in the entire campaigning process. I want to bring a similar change here. All the elaborate urban planning proposals made in India end up gathering dust. We need to bring a drastic change in our administration. This is why I’ve decided to contest,” he added.

Surya Prakash Loonker, another independent candidate, is contesting from Chittranjan Park. He has an MBA degree in finance from Iowa State University. A resident of south Delhi’s Alaknanda, he is currently working as an investment banker. “My agenda is very simple. I want to involve the youth in civic governance. I also want to take the resident’s help bring resolve parking problems. Garbage management is also a huge issue that needs a big overhaul and that will be my biggest challenge,” he said.

Loonker has worked with firms such as Hitachi Semiconductors, Wells Fargo Bank, and others in USA.

Another candidate, Ankita Saini, left the comforts of her life in Canada to join the MCD battle in the city. A student of International Business Marketing, she was studying at Humber College, Toronto. She returned to the city in 2009 and has been working for BJP since then.

“If we all start thinking that we should settle down abroad, then we should not complain about the sorry state of affairs here. We need to be the agent of change, and I’ve decided to be one,” she said.