Bengaluru, Apr 17: Darshan Puttannaiah, the founder of a US-based software company, had no plans to join politics but his MLA father’s death just ahead of Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 compelled him to do so. Darshan, whose father KS Puttannaiah died of a massive cardiac arrest in February this year, has abandoned his well-settled firm in the US and is resettling in Karnataka after 15 years to contest election from Melukote Assembly constituency.
Darshan’s father KS Puttannaiah was a legislator from Melukote in Mandya, representing the Karnataka Sarvodaya Party, which was originated from the farmers’ organisation called the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and has merged with psephologist Yogendra Yadav’s Swaraj India party. Puttannaiah the first and the only Swaraj India MLA in Karnataka when he became a legislator from Melukote. After Puttannaiah died, his supporters urged Darshan to contest polls.
“I have always liked the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha’s activism side of fighting for the farmers. My father never asked me to join politics. He said do what you like. I am not even an office bearer of the KRRS. But when my father died, the people in the constituency asked me to contest and that’s what transpired into this. I was only visiting here. I wasn’t even here,” Darshan, who has an engineering degree from Mysore University and a post-graduate degree from Canada, told News18.
Darshan left India in 2002 but had campaigned for his father in previous elections. “We never discussed about launching me as a politician. If I had such plans I wouldn’t have a well-settled life elsewhere,” he said. He is most likely to get the support of the Congress party, which has not announced its candidate for Melukote seat in its first list of 218 candidates. Speaking on a sensitive issue on Cauvery water dispute, Darshan called for an amicable solution.
“It has to be a bipartisan discussion. They are Indians and farmers and so are we. We need to come up with the solution that works for both. Everybody needs to look at the bigger picture,” he was quoted as saying. Karnataka will go to polls on May 12. The results will be out on May 15.