Billionaire Nilekani sweats it out at hustings in Bangalore South

Billionaire Nilekani sweats it out at hustings in Bangalore South

Infosys co-founder Nandan Manohar Nilekani, who will make his political debut through direct elections, is perhaps the richest Lok Sabha candidate in the country.

He and his family are together worth about Rs 8,600 crore as per the American business magazine Forbes.
Out on the hustings, the uber rich candidate, along with his wife Rohini, has been meeting residents’ associations almost daily in the Bangalore South constituency from where he is likely contest the April 17 parliamentary election on a Congress ticket. But he is yet to join the Congress and the party too has not formally announced his candidature.

Ask him why the Bangalore South constituents – who have repeatedly sent BJP’s H N Ananth Kumar to the Lok Sabha – should vote for him, he says the people of the constituency are hungry for a change and ready to accept an effective leader.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, he said, “I think people are ready for a fresh and honest face to represent Bangalore South in Parliament... Someone who has a track record of being effective and delivering on the promises.”

But he refused to comment on why the voters should choose him instead of the BJP MP.To a question why he wants to enter politics and why he has chosen the Congress, Nilekani said he has been working in the public sector for sometime now and over the years, he has come to believe that finally, if one wants to have a lasting positive impact, it has to be through politics. 

“It is the biggest lever available,” he said.

“The Congress-led government, over the last five years, gave me the space and opportunity to get a lot of things done. Sixty crore people have the Aadhaar number. We have created a powerful anti-corruption tool. In addition, the party represents all sections of society and not just some of us,” he pointed out.

When asked about the UPA and its misgovernment, he said, “The issues of governance we face are systemic and they are present with every party and every government, which needs a systemic approach to solve them.”

When his attention was drawn to his former colleague Mohan Das Pai questioning his contribution to Bangalore, Nilekani said his contribution to the capital was well documented. 

“My work on BATF from 1999-2004, where we helped develop Bengaluru's parks and gardens, better bus stops, and Nirmala toilets... My wife Rohini and I have spent over Rs 300 crore on causes such as education and environment and on healthcare,” he said.

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