The candidate for the Melukote seat in Mandya district for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly election is drawing eyeballs amid the Modi-Shah-Kharge battle.
Darshan Puttannaiah is the candidate who sold his flourishing IT company Qwinix Technologies in Colorado, US, to fight the election 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.
Darshan backed by Congress
He contested the 2018 election and lost miserably to CS Puttaraju of JD-S. This time around, backed by the Congress, the 45-year-old, who recently sold his company, is looking to fare better.
“When I contested the election in 2018, I was only visiting India,” Darshan told the media on the sidelines of an election rally. “My father passed away and I stayed back. Within three months, the election was announced. I had never dreamt that I would contest the poll yet I jumped into the fray.”
After the 2018 defeat, he went back to the US to sell his firm so he can spend more time in the current election.
Darshan does not want to join a national party but has a vision for the constituency.
Darshan takes inspiration from history
“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 potential to tell the story of Ramanujacharya and the significance of Melukote through tourism,” he said.
“Investors want to create infrastructure without disturbing the ecosystem,” he added.