Bangalore South candidate Capt Gopinath reaches out

Captain Gopinath of Deccan Aviation, contesting the upcoming elections as an independent candidate, visited Lalbagh to meet people informally.

We all know Capt. Gopinath as the pioneer of low cost aviation in India. It’s another matter that this whole business model is no longer viable, thanks to the vagaries of petrol price fluctuation and governmental rules and regulations. The fact remains that, in a time of monopolistic aviation practices, Capt. Gopinath undertook to start Deccan Aviation, which made traveling by air affordable to the common man for the first time. So, in our minds, this sense of ‘Capt. Gopinath empathizes with the common man’ was a kind of article of faith. And the news that he is standing for election gives us, perhaps, some hope in a scenario where a voter generally has to choose the lesser of two evils – a politician who is less corrupt and less inefficient than the others.

Since it’s often true that the Indian voter does not vote for someone as much as against the present incumbent who has done nothing but feather his own nest and accumulate riches, the prospect of voting for someone who has a proven track record of doing something is indeed an attractive one. Besides, it’s not often that we hear of a candidate who is not screened behind an impenetrable wall of security, from the very electorate s/he is supposed to mingle with, and represent. An informal walk in Lalbagh sounded very approachable indeed!

Captain Gopinath with walkers at Lalbagh

Captain Gopinath with walkers at Lalbagh (Pic: Deepa Mohan)

We were at Lalbagh at about 7AM, where we saw a few volunteers meeting people and passing out flyers. The flyers were refreshingly eco-friendly; instead of sheets of A4 paper, they were the size of visiting card. Each said, under a small picture of the man, ‘Stand Up For Your Rights…Vote to Make a Difference….Vote for Capt. Gopinath’, along with his website and email id. (see box)

When we went to the Glass House, Capt. Gopinath had not yet arrived and this meant that the volunteers had little success in getting morning walkers and joggers to stay on the spot long enough to meet him. Many of them took the flyers and walked off.

But as Capt. Gopinath made his appearance, a knot of people did gather around. When people realized that this was an unusual event – a candidate approaching common people instead of only ‘designated’ vote banks, even more clustered around and talked to him.

Introducing myself, I asked if I could have a few minutes for some questions. He cheerfully assented.

Q. What’s going to be the cost of your election campaign and where are the funds coming from?

A. The upper limit fixed for election campaign expenses, as per law, is Rs. 25 lakh. So that’s my campaign budget. As you know, I have been a successful entrepreneur and have a willing band of supporters, who are also chipping in with contributions. I am sorry; I will not be running a multi-crore campaign.

Q. Which constituency are you standing from?

A. I am standing for election from Bangalore (South). That’s why I chose Lalbagh as a venue to meet people from all walks of life.

Q. As an independent MP, if you win, how do you plan to bring about change?

A. I am as frustrated with the present government and its opaque, corrupt method of functioning, as any of you. That’s why I am standing for election. I want to bring about a government that is not short-sighted, and one that is accountable to the people. There is no accountability right now; politics seems to mean absolute power. I want to stop politics on the basis of caste or religion, and make sure that people are in harmony.

Q. How do you rate your chances of winning?

A. That depends on all of you. That’s what I am requesting each of you to do…please go to the booths on election day and vote. Your vote makes a difference, how ever you may feel about it. We need everyone to bring about a change in the government. Unless the middle, the educated and working classes vote, it won’t happen. Do vote for me; that will increase my chances of winning and bringing about some long needed changes.

To know more about Captain Gopinath, visit the wiki on him at

Capt. Gopinath’s website is at and his email id is captgopi [at] votecaptgopi [dot] com

You can directly email him with any questions that you may have, which will enable you to decide whom to vote for.

These were standard questions, met with the standard answers. Has anyone ever met a candidate who says he is against communal harmony or transparency in politics? I have, in my own lifetime, seen several apparently reluctant and honest people turn into very opaque politicians. Yes, hope has been belied several times.

But I have not ever had a single electoral candidate even visit the apartment building where I live, much less approach people in this informal way. All the candidates have formal election meetings to which I would not go to unless I wanted a sari or money! This total disconnect between the candidates in my constituency (some of whom I don’t even know by name, fame or notoriety) was breached for the first time by Capt. Gopinath.

But we all know that Capt. Gopinath is very fresh to the fray and that an independent candidate always works under a tremendous disadvantage in terms of election infrastructure. I asked a couple of the volunteers – Vinit Bhansali and Surabhi Tomar, how they rated Capt. Gopinath’s chances. A non-committal shrug was my answer. “But,” said Vinit with a smile, “We do hope that he will be elected; we are certainly working hard for it and we hope that if he is returned, we will be able to see changes for the better in our city and state.”


  1. Mysore Ananthaswamy D says:

    It is surprising that a website such as Citizen Matters, which is known for it’s independent and unbiased viewpoint, has taken up a surrogate political campaign – as in the case of Capt. Gopinath.

    It is also obvious that Ms.Deepa Mohan has never had the misfortune of travelling in the erstwhile Air Deccan. Many, like me, who have suffered the unexplained delays,lack of service and the rude, arrogant and unhelpful (take-it-or-leave-it)behaviour of the staff of his airline, have only this to ask – if he could not be responsive to his customers, how does he propose to be responsive to the public at large?

  2. Editors says:

    Dear Mr.Ananthaswamy, thank you for your note.
    As a independent newsmagazine, we will be bringing interviews with all candidates.
    We are not endorsing any particular candidate including Capt Gopinath. This is merely a personal account of the interaction with one candidate.
    We are very happy to count such alert readers amidst our audience. Please continue to watch and critique whenever you feel the need to.
    Regds, Editors

  3. Siby Kuriakose says:

    It is also surprising to see that a few delayed flights and temperamental staff can be used as an excuse to belittle the achievements of this man and his further political endeavours in the face of all odds. Responsive or not is yet to be seen, but as the article rightly points out it is definitely a step in the right direction!

  4. Mysore Ananthaswamy D says:

    Dear Editors,

    Thank you for the reassuring response – I am glad to note that you intend to mainain the impartiality.

    I do not intend to respond to the other post as it is obviously a “put up job”, trying to deflect attention from the points raised.

  5. Siby Kuriakose says:

    Oh! but you did..i am always surprised by people who say they will not respond and then go on to…slightly “thick” i always assumed.
    so what is to say that you are not, as you call it, a “put up job” by the same communal forces that go around beating up women! i’m quite confident actually that you are…

  6. Mysore Ananthaswamy D says:

    Mr. Sibi, there is absolutely no need to get personal about this – let us stick to the issues involved.

    I agree with you wholly that the moral brigade should be banned – they have no place in Bangalore!

    But that is not the only issue, as a 54 y o resident of Jayanagar, Bangalore, like me will say.

  7. Siby Kuriakose says:

    At the cost of sounding like a piquant child in the started it!…btw, it’s Siby, but that’s just rankles when people misspell a four letter name…Mr. Ananthaswamy D, i am discussing the issues at hand..the purported reason for Mr. Gopinath to enter politics again after his earlier failed attempt as a BJP (the party that has “pretended” to clamp down on the moral brigade) candidate speaks volumes about the incumbent government..and if it’s a question of pedigree..well i was born in this city about three decades back and have seen it outgrow itself…so there you what are these other issues?

  8. Dr Kadiyali M Srivatsa says:

    Some of you must travel in Ryan Air or Easy Jet or other budget air lines before commenting about Deccan Air. “You get what you pay for”. Best of luck to Captain Gopinath.

  9. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby K and Srivatsa, you pose some lame arguments. The Deccan air service was pathetic as Mysore Anathaswamy pointed out.

    We all know that Gopinath sold his loss making airline to the UB group and enriched himself with about 150 crores.

    So what happened to his promises of flying the common man? Obviously not sustainable. He does not walk his talk and now that he has money in the bank has political ambitions. Typical.

  10. Siby Kuriakose says:

    Hemant, How many “obviously” unsustainable ventures have you promised to get off the ground (pardon the pun)? Your pedantic and cliched argument above only reinforces that you have no clue about shareholder value, business reality or indian politics. Typical.

  11. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby Kuriakose You come up with another lame argument. We are talking about Gopinath, not me here. So it does not matter what I have done or not. I am a citizen and thats good enough for me to comment. Your sweeping remarks from a pedestal of ‘supreme knowledge’ or more likely management b******t, only shows that you are just a spokesperson for Gopinath.

  12. Siby Kuriakose says:

    Hemant Rao, another lame argument? so much work for you isn’t it? to make sure all arguments are healthy and logical to you… and let me you tell ‘you can make a difference’ when you comment as an informed citizen..well i suppose you wouldn’t know that…Mr.Gopinath knows whether i am a spokesperson or not, so be sure to ask him..but i have a request, please stop being the spokesperson for ignorance!

  13. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby Kuriakose so what you are saying is that you are the informed citizen here and people who do not agree with you are not. Get off your high horse Siby. If you want people to vote for Gopinath, thats the first thing you should do. There is no need to ask Gopinath about who you are or what you do as it makes no difference. Its very evident from your posts. But keep your BS management fundas to yourself not everybody is a fool to fall for your semantics. And your arguments are just lame, no substance.

  14. Siby Kuriakose says:

    No Hemant Rao, What i’m saying is you are the one on a high horse and anybody who doesn’t agree with you offers ‘lame arguments’. Why didn’t you just comment on Gopinath or the article? No, you had to pick on arguments that other people have made. Do i sense a lot of suppressed frustration? A deep desire for confrontation? I’d recommend yoga for that! It’s also evident that whatever you don’t understand you term as BS and thus will remain ignorant believing it’s bliss. Lastly,if you make accusations, as Russell Peters would say “Be a Man” and back them up!

  15. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby please re read, my comments are on Gopinath. He asked to be elected, so citizens will discuss everything about him. He is a man who does not walk his talk. Too bad if you do not like negative comments. Yoga is another topic and but good to know you are selling yoga and Gopinath as a package! No thanks. There is nothing earth shattering or that complex here to understand and in reality what you say is BS. It is my opinion on Gopinath based on what I know of him and there are obviously others who agree. I do not go by what a comedian says when it comes to matters of governance as you obviously do. You sound juvenile and are doing more damage to Gopinath here than helping him.

  16. Siby Kuriakose says:

    No Hemant, you started by picking on two other people’s comments and that’s obvious as daylight. Please re read all that you’ve written here and you’ll understand who is truly juvenile here..

  17. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby, So what if I agree with the two other people? Is there a law against consensus? Or do I need your permission on what to say? What is obvious is that you are selling Gopinath’s candidature. And since you want to have the last word by repeating what I am saying you can go ahead. I am not wasting my time on this anymore.

  18. Siby Kuriakose says:

    So you’re saying there is a law against disagreeing with you or supporting Gopinath’s candidature? Yep, i agree with you don’t waste your time on illogical and inane arguments anymore and do some reading in the meantime..remember an informed citizen will make the right choices and not just be a puppet for communal forces.

  19. Hemant Rao says:

    Looks like Siby’s rants went unheard by the people…tsk tsk…you really wasted your time. “puppet of communal forces” grandiose words indeed. You must be writing gopinath’s speeches.

  20. Siby Kuriakose says:

    ha ha ha ha ha…couldn’t stay away could you? jobless? more time on your hands? fired from the erstwhile deccan airways? what’s your explanation?…and ‘walk the talk’ he says…

  21. Hemant Rao says:

    Siby you are obviously keeping vigil over gopinath’s candidature. Why should I explain anything? Its my opinion as a citizen based on what I know of the man. You are like a child with lots of lame arguments. I am not the one asking to be elected in any case. I am fortunate to have time on my hands to voice my opinion. Having time is a good thing. But it looks like you are paid by Gopinath to defend him.

  22. Mysore Ananthaswamy D says:

    Dear all, visited this space after a long time – surprised to see that Mr.Siby is still the valiant soldier for the self-proclaimed “educated civil society” as the good Capt. Gopinath also proclaimed to be.(As if society in Bangalore was not educated or civil before the advent of such people!) Anyway the verdict of the people is out and only a miniscule percentage of Bangalore South, a constituency with highly educated and civil people, THOUGHT and chose him above others – so let us all gracefully accept it, even if we may personally disagree.

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