The emerging victory prospects of the BJP in Karnataka, or more significantly, the fall of the Janata Dal (Secular)-led coalition in state elections has raised a cautious note of cheer in the IT industry, which is famous for being muted and preferably neutral on political issues.
At stake is the future of Brand Bangalore, which has of late lost some of its charm and international stature thanks to its creaking infrastructure and doubts over political support for the software sector after JD (S) leader and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda was locked a few years ago in issues related to land allocation for IT companies like Infosys.
Also, delays faced by the new airport and other projects like flyovers are irritants for Bangalore’s IT push. The ousted JD(S) had its eyes mainly on rural areas and farmers.
“It is too early to say anything (in view of emerging results), but Karnataka has a strong role to play in IT,” said Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), speaking from Shanghai in China, noted for its abundant infrastructure that stands in contrast to Bangalore.
“I hope they (new government) won’t take any steps that makes Bangalore lose its sheen,” he said, adding that political stability was critical.
“There have been too many changes. Foreign investors expect consistency,” Natarajan said.
“Anything that has a single government for a few years is good for IT,” said the executive, who has been the CEO of a dynamic Bangalore-centred software and business process outsourcing (BPO) company. “Everybody wanted a stable government and wanted to teach a lesson to JD(S).”
“Maybe the techies did not go out and vote for BJP,” he said, adding that coalitions typically hold up infrastructure projects, and a stable government would lead to a “more practical approach” in giving what the IT industry badly needs.