This globe-trotting techie seeks to test poll waters

Until two years ago, Ujenappa Jattappa Kodihalli had a plum job with a multinational conglomerate, which took him across the globe. The software professional went on to quit his job for politics, and is now the JD(S) candidate from Hirekerur constituency in Haveri district.

A techie from a farmers’ family, his nomination also comes at a time when the JD(S) leadership has been talking about an image makeover for the party, to bring in younger faces. Having grown up in a family that was financially constrained, Ujennappa hopes to use technology and his corporate management skills to improve his constituency. For that, he will have to go up against BJP’s B C Patil, a cop-turned-neta who was disqualified as the Congress legislator.

Speaking to DH, Ujenappa, 40, said he travelled extensively in the constituency for the past 15 months, taking part in over 140 booth level meetings. “Having grown up in a village in this constituency, I am aware of the social, cultural, religious and labour issues faced by people. With my technology background and experience in corporate management, I believe I can provide solutions to these issues.” His focus would be to improve technology connectivity apart from school education there, he said.

Ujenappa believed in the potential of regional parties. “I decided to join politics as I feel that one can make an impact while being in power. I believe that regional parties in any state have a lot to offer to regional development.” Ujenappa is the first in his family to step into politics. “Until now, there isn’t even a gram panchayat member from my family. I am going with the belief that money is not the only criteria to be a successful politician.”

His desire to enter politics also comes with an aim to help people from an underprivileged background. He himself had a struggling childhood.

Coping with an alcoholic father, Ujenappa said his family lost their house and land and had to move villages to start their lives afresh.

“I completed PUC in Kannada medium. Our family friends at that time and now my in-laws, pitched in for my higher education. Otherwise, I could not have afforded an engineering degree from a private college in Bengaluru.” He hoped that by staying in politics, he could help students in the constituency get access to quality education.

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