Thursday, May 14, 2009

Can Professional skills help National Governance?

What’s common to a banker, a HR professional, a former U.N. under-secretary general and a dancer? You got it- yes, they all are fighting general elections this year.

Meera Sanyal , ABN Amro Bank (now RBS) Executive Vice President and India country head, has been a part of the banking industry for over 25 years. Now the head honco of the multi-national bank has made a plunge into politics. Contesting as an independent candidate from South Mumbai, Meera hopes to ―”get Mumbai back on track”. We got a chance to interact with her at her Colaba campaign office. As we discussed on the current issues, we could see in her the self-belief, determination, optimism and determination to fight for a change. According to Meera, last year‘s 26/11 Mumbai attacks disturbed her and compelled her to join politics and work for the betterment of the society. If she wins, she plans to quit her job and work full time for the society. She would focus on the city's infrastructure, particularly public transport and stronger security setup. Due to delimitation of Mumbai South constituency, she is pitted against 2 sitting MPs, Milind Deora of the Congress and Mohan Rawle of the Shiv Sena. What is in her favor is her enviable education, MBA from INSEAD (France), 2008" (Award for the best Corporate Executive Citizen) iCONGO Confederation of NGOs.

We move our attention to neighboring state, Mallika Sarabhai, a reputed dancer, is taking on BJP prime ministerial candidate, Mr LK Advani, as Independent candidate. Another news pouring in from Bangalore, Capt. GR Gopinath has taken plunged into the general elections. Mr Shashi Tharoor, India’s candidate for U.N. Secretary General, is gearing up for the elections from Trivandrum. Unlike the names mentioned above, he has a backing of a national party- the Congress. Not to be left behind is the founder of India’s largest recruitment firm, K Pandiarajan, contesting as a DMK candidate in Tamil Nadu (Virudhunagar Constituency). He is taking on Tamil film star Mr Vijaykanth.

With such star professionals entering into politics, we can say for sure “Indian politics is shining”, but will it be “Jai Ho” for them? Will they be able to survive amidst this web of conflicting ideologies, party politics and the existing game of contradictions that is so typical of the Indian political scenario? Will they be able to fulfill a billion aspirations? Will their honest will to bring about considerable change wilt away fast? Or can we hope for a 'real' revolution?

-- Swapnil Saurav
Originally written on 9 April 2009 for 5th Dimension newsletter: http://sites.google.com/a/spjimr.org/thefifthdimension/skills-help-national-governance

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