This event has begun to rapidly spread awareness about what, for over two decades, can be described to be a ‘secret’ election.
"So far only 90,000 or less than 5% of nearly 20 lakh graduates in Bangalore have registered as voters. Recently, even the Karnataka High Court has expressed reservations about this," stated Dr Meenakshi Bharath, Loksatta party’s Bangalore district President.
Continuing his address to the gathering, Justice Hegde emphasised, "Not only are we urging people to register and vote, but it is important this time since we have a very eligible candidate, an eminent Bangalorean. I have known Dr Ashwin Mahesh for a few years now, and I can vouch for his integrity, his sincerity for public service, his vision for Bangalore and his involvement with grass-roots work."
Dr Ashwin Mahesh, who is Loksatta party's candidate for the Bangalore Graduates' Constituency, has through sustained work in Bangalore, won the hearts of the people. Trained as an astronomer and atmospheric scientist, Dr Mahesh has spent his career in diverse fields of research-global climate change, urbanisation and public transport. He is a researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Urban Governance at IIM Bangalore also at the CiSTUP centre at the Indian Institute of Science, focusing on urban transport and mobility. Along with this, he is also adjunct faculty member at IIIT-Bangalore, where his research interest is focused on city information and management systems.
As a member of the ABIDe Task Force, Dr Ashwin Mahesh is well known across Bangalore for a number of initiatives to promote the development of the city. He is most closely identified with the popular Big10/ BigCircle bus system of BMTC, a firstof-its-kind effort in India to reform bus routing in urban areas. He has also led the development of intelligent traffic management systems for the police, and helped establish India's best traffic control room, with visualisation of information anchored by the Bangalore Transport Information System (BTIS) developed by his lab, Mapunity. For his innovative efforts at tackling urban mobility and other governance challenges through social technology, Dr Mahesh was selected in 2009 as an Ashoka Fellow - a global recognition for social entrepreneurship.
Dr Ashwin has been a leading voice of India Against Corruption (IAC) campaign in the state and among the founders of the anti-corruption movement, Corruption Saaku.
He has also supported initiatives for skill development and jobs for lower income groups.
About a month ago, UK’s Wired Magazine recognised Dr Mahesh as one of 50 people from all over the world who they describe will CHANGE THE WORLD. Last year, he was identified by a leading group as one of the city’s top INFLUENTIALS alongside Shri Nandan Nilekani, Sri Sri Ravishankar and Shri Santosh Hegde.
This is for the first time that Justice Santosh Hegde is publicly supporting a candidate; that itself speaks volumes about the Justice’s faith in Dr Ashwin Mahesh.
Along with Justice Hegde, people from various walks of life have not hesitated to speak for Dr Ashwin. This includes former Infosys Director Shri TV Mohandas Pai, Kannada actor Shri Ramesh Aravind, ace cricketer Shri Anil Kumble, Justice MN Venkatachalaiah, eminent theatre person Shri Prakash Belawadi, social worker & Padma Shri awardee Ms Anita Reddy, civil society leaders Shri NS Mukunda and Ms Kathyayini Chamraj and Lead India winner and co-ABIDe member, Shri RK Misra.
Dr Ashwin’s campaign is riding on a high with over thousand messages coming in daily expressing support and seeking help for registration.
Mentioned Ms Shanthala Damle, the campaign coordinator, “Many of us have resigned from jobs, taken sabbatical from work and are utilising all our time for this campaign. For us, succeeding here is the dream we have set for ourselves, for Bangalore and for initiating better leadership in India”.
For help with registering as a Graduate Voter and to know about the campaign, citizens are invited to give a Missed Call to 080- 49311234. A volunteer will shortly call you.