Polls Have Broadened My Experience, Says Nilekani
By S Rajashekara | Published: 19th April 2014 07:59 AM |
A day after polls, Bangalore South LS Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani looked relaxed and confident. In an interview with S Rajashekara, Nilekani said he will be back in action after a short break with family. Groundwork to execute his top 10 promises and a constituency management system are his priorities. Excerpts.
How was the election experience?
Well, it was really great! While doing (campaigning), it was very intensive and gruelling. I was campaigning from 6 am to 11 pm.
It’s been an extraordinary experience. Just the sheer diversity of the people I met, conditions they lived in and the problems they faced have given me a better understanding.
I walked many kilometres, travelled in jeeps, went on padayatras and roadshows and went door to door. I enjoyed it and have learnt something.
Tell us about your interactions with the common man
I learnt a lot by talking to everyone. This has broadened my experience.
My intention of taking the Lok Sabha route was precisely this that if I had to play a role in public life, I had to internalise the real challenges people face.
To that extent, the goal has been achieved.
Nilekani today and the person you were three months ago - how different are they?
I think I took up this role with quite a diverse experience. The three experiences that, I believe, shaped me are being one of the co-founders of Infosys with Narayana Murthy, serving as the Bangalore Agenda Task Force chairman and being the chairman of Aadhaar.
Now I have learnt much more about the challenges people from various walks of life face.
The biggest challenge you faced during the campaign?
The steep learning curve. I was doing this for the first time. The big advantage I had was the complete acceptance of the Congress party. I am happy that we all worked together. The result will reflect on March 16.
Why did you choose Bangalore South, which has been anti-Congress?
The constituency today is not what it used to be. We looked at the demographics here. The other thing we realised was that we had a very weak candidate on the other side who also seems to have been involved in a number of scams. Even after 18 years, he had to hide behind another chief minister.
Did you ever feel that you made a mistake by joining politics?
I am happy with my decision. It has broadened my personality in some sense.
What is your plan if you lose? Will you return to the corporate world?
I am now in politics. The next few years I will dedicate to politics, because I think politics is the biggest lever of change.
I want to contribute to political reforms, inner party democracy, democratic process of electing candidates, electoral reforms, election funding among others. I have a whole lot of things to do within the party.
Some say you are a right man in the wrong party. Your comments?
One doesn’t join a party for opportunistic reasons. They join for an ideology. The Congress party stands for an inclusive ideology reflecting the ethos and diversity of the country.
I can only belong to a party which is universalistic in its ethos. I don’t see that anywhere else.
Secondly, I have grown in a Nehruvian household with a social and liberal view of the world. And last but not the least, the Congress backed me on Aadhaar; so it is my party.