Bengaluru, or is it still Bangalore, is the hotbed of the Indian IT industry. This is what has been drilled into many people. But the electoral results seem to have denied the truth of the assessment.
How else would you reconcile the fact that Nandan Nilekani, one of the blue-eyed boys of the IT industry, lost to the professional politician Ananth Kumar by a whopping twenty percentage points – 56 to 36? All of Nilekani’s IT furbished sheen did not amount to a hill of beans with the electorate of the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency (IT industry backyard).
I have an explanation. The reason for Nilekani’s non-performance in the electoral front must be ascribed to his stint as the chairman of the UIDAI, the IT focused ID initiative of the government. (How the Modi government tackles this monster is something that should concern all of us).
I have had a running battle with that agency, after having gone through the process three times, each time after the first, upon being asked to re-enroll and re-re-enroll by the agency because the previous attempts had been a failure. Even as I am typing this I got a message from UIDAI on my mobile that my enrollment has been rejected because of duplication! I swear I have no intention of duplicating my identity anywhere, even on blogspot, facebook, Linked In!
I am not a manual laborer and there was no problem with my fingerprints. There were no obvious errors in my iris reading as I understood and my photograph came out normal. Yet …
The problem is now being compounded as I will be leaving Delhi where this UIDAI drama has been enacted and will be shifting base to Tamil Nadu and my odyssey will, I am afraid, continue.
As usual, lack of accountability. If UIDAI is not accountable, the voter must have thought that its chairman too will be unaccountable, to his constituency. Hence the unsurprising result, I surmise.
Looking at the numbers, upwards of 630,000 people said Ananth Kumar is more responsive. In contrast only about 400,000 people said likewise for Nilekani. I suspect that the six hundred thousand people who voted for Ananth suffered a UIDAI fate not dissimilar to mine. So, I am in good company, and Nilekani not so, not even one of the forty four Congress MPs.
Going beyond UIDAI, the results are a pointer to the status of the IT industry in the minds of the people. If a technocrat has to lose to a professional politician quite so massively, that too in the former’s backyard, the IT hype must be called into question. This too – as I am a member of the non-IT engineering tribe – brings me a measure of satisfaction and a smile to my face.
All in all, I am a winner and the Indian IT industry is a loser. Nilekani went to all that trouble to prove this obvious fact!