Polls Have Broadened My Experience, Says Nilekani - The New Indian Express

Polls Have Broadened My Experience, Says Nilekani

Published: 19th April 2014 07:59 AM

Last Updated: 19th April 2014 09:39 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.

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