What’s common to a banker, a dancer and a former U.N. under-secretary general?

Answer: they are all contesting the general election in India.

The main battle in the polls from April 16 to May 13 this year, as in years past, is between the centre-left ruling Congress and the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. A loose alliance of smaller regional parties has formed a Third Front, as well.

But Meera Sanyal, the country head of ABN Amro Bank, is not aligning with any of them. She will contest from South Mumbai, an upmarket locality and the main business district, as an independent candidate.

On a month’s leave of absence as she dabbles in politics, Sanyal will go toe-to-toe with Congress incumbent Milind Deora, the son of the oil minister, with Facebook groups and her husband speaheading her campaign. She said she found it difficult to align herself with the ideologies of the big parties.

That thought is echoed also by Mallika Sarabhai, a reputed dancer, who is contesting as an independent in Gandhinagar in Gujarat state, taking on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani.