Published: 01st July 2019
Politics is all about wielding influence: TN Minister K Pandiarajan about business and politics
Talking about his two decades in Indian politics, Pandiarajan said that one should look at starting political parties like they were enterprises
There are managers and leaders in politics just like in the corporate world, said Tamil Nadu's Minister for Tamil Official Language, Tamil Culture and Archaeology, K Pandiarajan. The management czar-turned-politician was speaking at the inaugural session of the Beyond Management Initiative (BMI) of the Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA). Talking about his two decades in Indian politics, Pandiarajan said that he feels politics shares a very close resemblance to the corporate world but is also very different, at the same time. "Politics is all about the way you wield influence," said the minister.
He asked the students to go beyond MBA studies to become leaders who would be able to “see the unseen, articulate the unarticulated.” His journey from corporate leadership to political leadership, he argued, brought him great opportunities to make good use of corporate leadership skills in politics and that has been transformative. Citing the example of the Aam Aadmi Party and Makkal Needhi Maiam he invited the students to look at founding a political party as starting an enterprise with the primary aim of making a difference in the lives of people.
"Working with Arun Jaitley for six months for setting the foundation for GST was the most memorable and those were the six months I had worked the most in my life. It was a high point in my career — political and corporate included. Arun Jaitley was an absolute delight to work with," he said. "My political career started long back when I was in XLRI. We were protesting against the removal of a teacher. The institution taught me a lot. I understood what diversity actually meant — we had students from across the country. I learned to communicate better with people," he added.
His idea of entrepreneurship became a little more crystalised in XLRI, said Pandiarajan. "I took a job at the British Oxygen Company and I was stationed in Kolkata. It is here that I came in contact with Dr V Krishnamurthy, the doyen of Indian management. He is the person who gave you the Maruti car, reinvented SAIL and headed the country's largest and most challenging public sector companies," he told students. "It changed my outlook."
The Beyond Management Initiative (BMI) session offers a unique opportunity for students to listen to and interact with experts from various fields and thereby benefit from their significant experiences and valuable insights. The BMI lecture series is held every Wednesday at LIBA.