Saturday, March 15, 2014

Nandan Nilekani in politics

A co-promoter of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani is an activist who takes risks. Otherwise he would not have agreed to be in charge of the monumental task of providing 'Aadhaar' to every Indian. The scheme started off well but ran into many logistical, legal and political problems which remain to be sorted out. In the meanwhile, Nilekani has decided to take the greater risk of jumping into politics. He is contesting from Bangalore South constituency representing the Congress party.

The technocrat activist has cogently explained his action. His father was an enthusiastic supporter of Nehruvian policies. Ideologically, the son also fits into the Congress scheme of things.

On 31st January, we had posted the following under the caption "Parties and Policies":

"Satyapal Singh, esteemed Commissioner of Police, Mumbai has resigned; he says he will contest the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha. He also says he has offers from AAP and BJP and that he will soon choose one of these two. Earlier, Uttam Kobhragade, the influential father of Devyani Khobragade had also said he has offers from quite a few political parties.

Do these instances mean that political parties cannot be distinguished based on their policies? Can we cynically say parties don't have policies; they only have privileges? Is this what politics is supposed to be?"

It is obvious that Nilekani is vastly different from the likes of Uttam Kobhragade who have no ideology of their own but keep seeking political opportunities. Nilekani sincerely hopes that being part of GOP would enable him  to contribute his mite to community in a better way. His move therefore needs to be encouraged. Many politicians choose to join a party which allots a post or offers a candidature to them. But NN has chosen to enter a political outfit that in his opinion matches his ideological predilections.  So far, so good. Well endowed that he is, he has decided to spend only his money for the election. There are some equally rich or even richer candidates who merrily use party's funds!

Nonetheless, practices of the Congress are at variance with its proclaimed ideology. Nandan Nilekani is perhaps positioning himself for a bitter disappointment aka 'cognitive dissonance'. He has created dilemma in voters' minds also. Many Bangaloreans would prefer to vote for him but not for Congress. What should they do?

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