In a talk with Swarajya, Rajeev Chandrasekhar weighs in on the state of investment in Kerala, political exploitation in Bengaluru, the IAS’s grip on policy making and the power of Digital India, among other things.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar was one of the earliest of the lot of entrepreneurs who turned to politics with a passion to shake loose the status quo on governance in India. It’s been nearly 12 years since and he has been able to spearhead change in the narrative in many areas, especially in the realm of urban politics, and drive action on such matters as Article 66 A of the Information & Technology Act and ‘one rank, one pension’.
Seen as an outsider and an agent of change, Chandrasekhar has faced many battles over the years, largely initiated by those who have an interest in maintaining the status quo and protecting their interests. But the Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from Bengaluru has remained steadfast on course to impacting governance at the local, state and central levels.
Swarajya spoke to the parliamentarian recently to get his thoughts on a variety of crucial issues, from the lack of private investment in Kerala and the state of Bengaluru politics to the credibility of mainstream Indian media and the need for non-traditional politicians in politics.
Watch our interview with Rajeev Chandrasekhar here:
Quotes from the interview:
The state of entrepreneurship in Kerala
Even in this day and age of 2017, the left politics still depends on the failed, outdated, Stalinist narrative of violence and intimidation.
Until the left government in Kerala changes ways, private investment and entrepreneurship is not going to be visible in Kerala.
The lack of non-traditional politicians in politics
Most people who have successful track records in entrepreneurship resist getting into politics because they are intimidated by the challenges that conventional traditional politics represents for someone coming in from the outside. It was challenging for me as well, but I was determined from day one to surmount those challenges, to fight those pushbacks.
More people should take to politics
If you are determined to make a difference in your community or city, writing a blog or tweeting about it or doing a Facebook post is just not enough. Out of those hundreds of millions of people who are frustrated with what’s going on, a few will have to take a step forward and say, I will enter active politics and I will start shaping a new narrative on what governance is.
Bengaluru as a symbol of political exploitation
This [Bengaluru] is a city where government and governance have been captured by vested interests. In Bengaluru, the city is unfortunately not about citizens. It is about a few politicians, businesses – a few vested interests.
Marxist ideology is nearing its end
A dying ideology is most violent in its death throes. They thrash around, fling, flay, inflict violence, abuse, curse – and that is what you’re seeing with the Congress in Karnataka and the CPI(M) in Kerala.
Lack of an anti-establishment media in India
While there have been pockets of excellence, to a large part, media in the country have been silent spectators to government. There hasn’t really been anti-establishment media, in that sense.
Digital India will drive disruptive change
The full extent of Digital India is a deadly combination of an empowered and aware citizen on the one hand, and the desire of those citizens to know more about government and participate more in policy making.
Advice to professionals looking to enter politics
Being aware, as you build out your life experiences, before you take a decision to join public life is a good thing to do. I encourage that a lot.
Watch the full Swarajya interview with Rajeev Chandrasekhar here.