Former Infosys chief and currently head of the government’s Unique ID project run by UIDAI, Nandan Nilekani is all set to make his political debut wearing Congress’ hat, as per media reports. While he is tipped to contest in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, his entry into the Parliament through the Rajya Sabha route is also not being ruled out.
Members of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, are not directly elected by the public.
"There is no final decision as yet; it is about making a choice at this stage. Getting into the mainstream and becoming one who can initiate change for the larger public good," Nilekani told The Economic Times.
Nilekani, who in his personal capacity along with his immediate family members, owns around 3.3 per cent of Infosys, currently worth close to Rs 6,000 crore. He is said to be a prime candidate to get Congress ticket for South Bangalore constituency.
Currently, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ananth Kumar represents the constituency although there has been reports suggesting that the BJP is planning to field former Indian cricket captain Anil Kumble for this seat. South Bangalore represents an electorate of rich professionals, many owing their wealth to the IT sector, and Nilekani could be a strong candidate to win Lok Sabha seat from the constituency.
Nilekani had quit Infosys board four years ago. In June 2009, he stepped down as the co-chairman and board member of Infosys and took over as the chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). He was given the rank of a cabinet minister and has been heading the national project for creating a database of citizens.
Nilekani was earlier the chief executive of Infosys from 2002 to 2007. He stepped down and became a co-chairman in 2007, and was not involved in active management since then. Nilekani, with NR Narayana Murthy and six others started Infosys in 1981 and was a member of the board since then.
Nilekani earlier co-founded and chaired the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF). In 2004, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest Indian civilian decoration. In January 2006, he became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Foundation Board.
More recently, he was also given the task to develop the direct benefits transfer (DBT) project, considered a pet project of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and a showcase programme for Congress-led ruling political alliance UPA.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)