He sold his IT company in Florida to jump into the fray in Melukote
By Shankar Raj*
Bengaluru: The candidate for the Melukote seat in Mandya district for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly election is drawing eyeballs amidst the (Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s star campaigner) Narendra Modi-Congress Party president Mallikarjun Kharge battle.
Darshan Puttannaiah is the candidate who sold his flourishing IT company Qwinix Technologies in Colorado, United States, in order to fight the elections in his hometown.
Clad in local attire, Darshan has given up his formal suits and swanky air-conditioned office to be in the thick of a dusty and hot poll campaign.
Darshan is an instrumentation technology engineer and took to politics following the demise of his father KS Puttannaiah, a farmer leader and politician, in 2018.
He contested the 2018 elections and lost miserably to CS Puttaraju of Janata Dal (Secular). This time, backed by the Congress Party, the 45-year-old, who recently sold his firm, is looking to fare better as a Sarvodaya Karnataka Party candidate.
“When I contested elections in 2018, I was only visiting India,” Darshan told media persons on the sidelines of an election rally. “My father passed away and I stayed back. Within a span of three months, elections were announced. I had never dreamt that I would contest elections, yet I jumped into the fray.”
After the 2108 defeat, he went back to the US to sell his firm so that he can spend more time in the current elections.
Darshan does not want to join a national party but has a vision for the constituency.
“I strongly believe a lot of the answers to our current issues are in our history books,” he said. “The Indus Valley civilisation was built around small-scale industries. A longer-term vision is to create small-scale industries based on agricultural products and their byproducts.”
“Historically, Melukote has more to offer than Mysuru. There is a lot of potentials to tell the story of Ramanujacharya and the significance of Melukote through tourism”, he says. There are investors who want to create infrastructure without disturbing the ecosystem,” he added. Melukote assembly constituency has about 180 villages where farming is the primary occupation.
*Shankar Raj is a former Editor of The New Indian Express, Karnataka and Kerala, and writes regularly on current affairs.