Winds of change sweeping the country | What next for Dr. Sudha Murty?
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns, Top Stories

Winds of change sweeping the country | What next for Dr. Sudha Murty?

March 15, 2024

With the 2024 Parliamentary election at the threshold of polling booths, the country is all set to see a new government, or a government in new garbs or possibly the old wine in a new bottle.

Selection of candidates from different political parties is going on in an atmosphere of  turmoil, suspense, surprise and disappointment all over the country.

In our State, Karnataka, too the selection process is gaining speed, each party focussing on a winning horse in the electoral race.

While Congress under Siddaramaiah, a past master in electoral politics, is bound to field candidates who will make it to the winning post, the BJP and its ally JD(S) seem to be in a state of confusion in nominating right candidates in the right constituencies. BJP should know that only the high and mighty candidates can contest anywhere, even in Wayanad or Ballari and win. Not others. Even a veteran, experienced politician like Siddaramaiah, refrains from venturing. Therefore, from the seats so far declared by the BJP it does not seem to have done well compared to Congress.

It used to be said during Nehru’s days that no matter who the candidate was, even a donkey with a Gandhi cap would win the election. Likewise since 2014, the BJP has developed the same mindset. No matter who the candidate and from where he contests, the magic of Modi will take him to the victory stand. Wrong. Stature and popularity of the tallest leaders of the parties have changed, so also the thinking of the voters. Many hitherto not thought of factors come into play when a voter makes his choice. See what happened in the 2023 Assembly election in Karnataka. Last minute guarantees changed the election in favour of Congress making BJP, with Modi’s intensive campaigning, look miserable with a mere 65 seats.

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The Roman Consul Cicero had famously said that though Rome got rid of a tyrant, tyranny continued. Likewise it seems that 76 years after independence we have the same mindset. India got rid of the Rajas and Nawabs in 1947 but the royalty seems to survive, a vestige of a feudal society. In Karnataka, the Congress had successfully experimented with the Wadiyars and now it is the turn of BJP which had failed once and the Wadiyar switched to Congress. Will similar situation arise to Wadiyar this time? GoK.

In the midst of these volatile election concerns, there is good news from BJP. It has nominated one of the ideal role-model of a citizen of India to Rajya Sabha — Dr. Sudha Murty. She is the wife of N.R. Narayana Murthy, one of the Founders of Infosys. She is an engineer, a prolific writer in Kannada and English and a compulsive social worker. Yesterday she took oath as the Rajya Sabha member at Delhi.

Dr. Sudha Murty, 73, was the former Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, now a member, that helps many social and humanitarian causes financially. Our city is a great beneficiary of her munificence.  It has received donation from this Foundation in crores of rupees for various causes, specially in rejuvenating Hebbal Lake and Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion in Manasagangothri campus.

It may be recalled that in May 2022 it was reported that the election of India’s President and Vice-President would be held before July 24, 2022 as the term of incumbents would soon come to an end.

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Among the names that made the rounds were of Dr. Sudha Murty, M. Venkaiah Naidu (then Vice-President), Nirmala Sitharaman (Finance Minister), Ghulam Nabi Azad (of Congress) and Arif Mohammad Khan (Governor of Kerala). At that time I had written that the final choice would be made after weighing the caste, religion and gender equations.

And four years earlier, in 2018, I had written, that Mrs. Sudha Murty would make an ideal President of India, the second woman President, to atone for the lapse of not passing the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill.

However, in May 2022, when the election to these two high offices were to take place before July 24, 2022, I changed my mind and wrote that my choice for President was Arif Mohammad Khan and for Vice-President Dr. Sudha Murty. But BJP and Modi, like always, made a surprise choice for both the offices.

I ruminate on the subject again in view of Dr. Sudha Murty being made the Rajya Sabha Member. A stepping stone for a higher office of either Vice-President or the President. I guess if Modi gets a third term and vacancy arises for the offices of President and Vice-President Dr. Sudha Murty might reach the acme.

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