Captain G R Gopinath, who pioneered India's low-cost airline Air Deccan, is taking off as a politician. He will contest the coming parliament poll as an independent candidate from a constituency in Bangalore, with an agenda to fight terrorism, communalism and work for the economic development of the country.
"I am plunging into active politics due to the dramatic events and developments over the last six months in the country and the world over such as the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, global recession, economic slowdown in India and unsavoury incidents in Karnataka," Gopinath said on Thursday.
Gopinath, who sold his stake in the budget carrier to business tycoon Vijay Mallya leading to Air Deccan's merger with private airline Kingfisher, said he would soon decide on the Lok Sabha constituency from which he intended to contest.
"I will finalise the constituency in two-three days. I am consulting my friends such as Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Infosys Technologies vice-chairman Nandan Nilekani and Microland chief executive Pradeep Kar and well wishers to select the seat," Gopinath said.
"My three-point agenda is to fight terrorism, which is impacting our life in terms of safety, security and economic activity; communal violence and divisive forces, which are rearing their head again, especially in Karnataka after the BJP came to power; and socio-economic development of the country, particularly, infrastructure that is holding up the pace of growth," Gopinath added.
Disillusioned with political parties, Gopinath is entering the electoral battlefield as an independent to offer the people an opportunity to choose a candidate free from political pressures or compulsions.
"I not joining any political party as people are disgusted with their functioning. As candidature is decided on the basis of caste, community and ulterior considerations, I have decided to be on my own. Even their manifestos and election strategies are driven by the interests of industrialists and business houses," Gopinath pointed out.
Clarifying that no political party had approached him and neither had he done so, Gopinath lamented that politicians want democracy to flourish in the country but there was no inner democracy in their parties.
"Another reason for contesting as an independent is the conspicuous absence of inner democracy and value for impartial opinion. It is difficult to secure nomination in such a set-up and make a difference to serve the people," the former army pilot noted.
Though Gopinath hails from Gorur in Hassan district, about 250 km from here, he has decided to contest from India's IT hub, betting on the support of the large middle-class electorate, especially tech-savvy youth, working women and the articulate sections of society.
"I have already received tremendous support from IT and BT (biotechnology) sectors. As someone who has grown up from the ranks and made Bangalore my home, I am sure I will get full support from the educated, socially upward and articulate sections in this cosmopolitan city," Gopinath asserted.
Using ICT (information and communication technologies) as a tool, Gopinath plans to reach out to the electorate in the city through SMS messages, e-mail and a dedicated website with provision for suggestions, advice and feedback.
The delimitation exercise has increased the number of parliamentary constituencies in Bangalore to three from two - Bangalore South, Bangalore Central and Bangalore North.