IIT alumni’s party wants to be agent of change

November 19th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) They gave up plush jobs to jump into politics two years ago - something not too many Indian professionals do. The party that 20 alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) floated has now fielded two candidates in the Nov 29 Delhi assembly polls.After all, both techies and politicians are harbingers of change, say the founder members of Bharat Punarnirman Dal, or India Rejuvenation Force.

“Good politicians can change the face of a country and that is why educated and professionally qualified people should come forward,” said 30-year-old Ajit Ashwalayan Shukla, the organisation’s founder president.

The party aims to fight against corruption and caste-based politics in the country. With over 15,000 members, all professionals and some even settled abroad, today it receives funds from former IIT students working across the world.

“Enough of drawing room and coffee house discussions. It is time qualified professionals rose to the occasion and made an effort to put the country’s politics on the right track,” he said.

Shukla himself passed out of IIT Mumbai and was working with Indian IT giant Infosys. He then went on to study further, but instead of taking up a well-paid job after that he decided to float the Bharat Punarnirman Dal in 2006.

In the Delhi polls, the Dal has fielded Vijay Kumar Sharma, a lawyer from Jangpura, and Surya Prakash Loonker, who did his business graduation from the US, from Greater Kailash.

The party’s agenda for the Delhi elections is abolition of caste-based reservation in the country.

“Believe me, political parties are dividing the country by doing caste-based politics. We are not against reservations but it should be on the basis of economic status of the individual,” said Shukla.

According to its candidate Loonker, the party has started its door-to-door campaign and is meeting people daily to ask them to vote for change.

“We are not discouraged by the fact that we are contesting against big political parties and people are more inclined towards them. We are quite optimistic and working for big change in the country’s politics,” Loonker said.

Bharat Punarnirman Dal made its debut in the 2007 Uttar Pradesh elections when 10 candidates from various constituencies contested, though no one won.

The party is also planning to field some 20-25 candidates in the general elections due next year.

“We have professionally qualified people from the country’s best engineering and business schools and they have left their handsome, salaried jobs to fight for change in the country,” Shukla said.

For instance, Omendra Pratap Singh, who passed out of IIT Kanpur in 2006, was working with Tata Consultancy Services. But he left the job and joined the party in 2007. He is in charge of the party’s affairs in Uttar Pradesh.

But recourse to politics was not an easy task for these qualified professionals as they had to face a lot of resentment from their families.

“It was really difficult to persuade the families that we want to leave our jobs and join politics. They were really apprehensive but now it is almost over two years and we feel proud working for the country,” Shukla said.

(Richa Sharma can be contacted at richa.s@ians.in)

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