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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Congress may field Nandan Nilekani in 2014 polls

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 17, 2013
First Published: 17:34 IST(17/9/2013) | Last Updated: 09:26 IST(18/9/2013)

After quitting the cushy Infosys job to build the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Nandan Nilekani may open yet another chapter in his career. This time, in electoral politics.

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While there is no official word, top Congress sources told HT that it is “most likely” that the tech czar will contest on a Congress ticket in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Nilekani, a Kannadiga, may be fielded from South Bangalore constituency.

Mint, HT’s sister production, first broke the news on Livemint.com on Tuesday afternoon that Nilekani has emerged as the possible candidate. If the UIDAI chief enters the electoral bandwagon, he will be the first top technocrat from India’s booming IT industry to test the waters of direct politics.

Another top technocrat Sam Pitroda, a family friend of the Gandhi family who helped the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi usher in the telecom boom, has so far stayed away from electoral politics.

Nilekani, hand-picked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to steer the country’s unique identity number or the Aadhar programme that acts as the backbone of several government schemes including the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT). Party sources added that Nilekani enjoys tremendous rapport with both party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Congress sources, however, added that the party is yet to finalize its list of candidates for the next general election but some more fresh faces like Nilekani may be offered tickets. In the last election, Congress brought in Shashi Tharoor, a career diplomat to contest from Thiruvananthapuram. Thaoor is currently a minister of state for human resource development.

Nilekani, born in 1955 and an alumnus of IIT Bombay, was one of the five founder members of Infosys along with NR Narayana Murthy, which later rose to become one of India’s best IT venture. In 1981, Nilekani was the CEO of the company and later became co-chairman of the board of directors. He left Infosys in July 2009 to accept the challenge of building the UIDAI from the scratch. Read More...

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