Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (ANK)
Mangaluru, Feb 27: Former Deputy Chairperson, NRI Forum of Karnataka, Dr Arathi Krishna is a probable candidate from Udupi and Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha constituency for the upcoming elections. In an exclusive interview with editor-in-chief, Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld 24x7 channel's 'Public Challenge' programme, she expressed her thoughts on joining politics, her inspiration, achievements, profession and about her social service motto.
Dr Arathi Krishna is the daughter of Begane Ramaiah, a veteran Congress leader and former rural development minister.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is the reason for returning from America and joining politics”?
Dr Arathi Krishna: I am the daughter of Begane Ramaiah. I did my schooling at NR Pura and later shifted to Bengaluru. I was married at the young age of 19. I completed my masters degree in political science. Due to health issues of my husband, I skipped the plan of doing IAS and thought of helping my husband in his business as his family was in America. In America, I did my masters in public policies and international commerce and later joined to work at the Indian Embassy.
I wanted to do Indian related activities and help the NRIs. In 2007, I started Krishna Foundation at Sringeri to help for the education of poor children by providing scholarship and education. Since 2004, there was pressure on me to join politics. My name also came up during the MP elections. Later in 2012, I decided to resign from the Indian Embassy and took up the job of advisory at Embassy in New Delhi. Politics is an extension of social service, which is my main motive.
Q: Your father has been an inspiration. Is it because your father was in Congress, you want to continue there or because of the ideology of Congress party?
Dr Arathi Krishna: I have seen my father in the field of politics and watched Indira Gandhi closely when she contested from Chikkamagaluru and I strongly believe in the ideology of the Congress.
Q: You have served as community development officer at Embassy office. What is the scope in it?
Dr Arathi Krishna: I joined the embassy office as social secretary where I used to contribute to build relation between India and America. During UPA government, a separate ministry for NRIs was formed. I took initiative in recommending an officer in the Embassy to address the problems faced by NRIs and a separate post of community development officer through that ministry. Several policies were formed then which were successfully implemented.
Q: During the Siddaramaiah government you were appointed as Deputy Chairperson, NRI Forum of Karnataka. How the experience and what was are the achievements during your tenure?
Dr Arathi Krishna: I worked in this for a short time. But there was no policy at all. If there is no policy, then the work is not possible. Later a new policy was formed and the main thing was to collect the data of NRIs from all over.
We also recommended forming DC Welfare Committee under which a NRI officer should be appointed. Through this, it is easy to approach this officer in local level to address the NRI problems.
Q: NRI voting rights were announced by Dr Manmohan Singh, but not implemented yet. What is the reason for this?
Dr Arathi Krishna: Dr Manmohan Singh had announced this because there were requests from people in Gulf countries for voting rights. Election Commission is working out on it but it is not fully implemented. There was a decision taken for proxy voting, but it would create more problems. Diplomats, who represent our government, can vote online. But for public it is not implemented yet.
Q: In the year 2016, Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was celebrated successfully. What exactly is it and what was your role in it?
Dr Arathi Krishna: It was 14th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. The day, Mahatma Gandhiji arrived from South Africa is commemorated as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. It started during Vajpayee government. During this programme, renowned NRIs will be invited as guests and there will be panel discussion. It is a platform for the NRIs to address their problems and solve the issue as they get to interact with the ministry. I have actively participated in the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. I was in the organizing committee as well as I have taken part as a panelist.
Q: What inspired you to write your autobiography 'A quest across the sea'?
Dr Arathi Krishna: My hobby is to sing Kannada folk songs and many recommended me to record the songs. During my visit to India, I recorded eight songs at Akash Audio. Later it was released by S M Krishna through Kannada culture department.
It was highly appreciated as I, being in America, showed my interest in Kannada folk songs and many said it will be an inspiration for many. So I decided to write a book which will be motivational and inspirational. The book was released by the then chief minister of Karnataka, Dharam Singh.
Q: You are a loyal follower of Congress and a probable candidate for ticket from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency?
Dr Arathi Krishna: I am an aspirant from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha constituency. During my tenure, as deputy chairman I have done many works. And at Sringeri my works include constructions of roads, houses, land sanctions and many more through my foundation. If am in power, I can do more service to the community. Non-resident Kannadigas are also aware about my services. Many NRIs from Kaup and Karkala know me very well. My name came out even during the 2009 elections. Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics has given a boost to the Congress and there is signal of change in the results of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections because of her entry and I am confident that Congress will come out victorious.
Q: If you become an MP, what would be your vision?
Dr Arathi Krishna: There are lots of problems in Chikkamagaluru pertaining to coffee and areca nut growers, which I will resolve if am assume power. I will work hard for development works in Udupi as well as in Chikkamagaluru. Social service is my main motto.