In fact, I think that more and more young professionals should take to public life to serve the nation, instead of just bad-mouthing politics. Before joining politics, I used to work as a journalist in The Indian Express, Mumbai, for more than nine years before having a stint for almost the same period in the Territorial Army, where I reached the level of Company Commander.
What is unique about the present lot of young MPs is that they also bring in professional experience. The professional culture will have an impact in Parliament. Besides, it not only helps us see things in a better and different perspective, but it helps in going ahead with the youthful energy towards one's objectives in a more organised way.
Winning Barmer was no easy task for me, especially after having lost the 1999 Lok Sabha elections. The mantra for the turnaround was nothing but commitment to constituency. Instead of giving up, I kept up the groundwork. Incidentally, Barmer is larger in size than Sri Lanka and in my campaign trail I had to travel more than 12,000 km in the desert in my jeep! The BJP wave in Rajasthan also boosted my chances.
Interestingly, although Barmer is a backward constituency, the two biggest issues for the people here are water and India-Pakistan ties! My constituency also has the longest border with Pakistan. The opening up of the border, a promise given by the NDA regime, is a very emotional issue here as Barmer has the highest number of divided families, which have relatives across the border.
With most of my constituency consisting of parched land, most of my Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme money goes in for water-related issues. I am a big votary for the scheme, despite the recent controversy over corruption in the scheme. But my complaint is that Barmer with a size bigger than Sri Lanka gets the same MPLAD amount that Chandni Chowk, which is the size of a gram sabha, gets.
(Manavendra Singh is MP, Barmer, Rajasthan.)