Why AnanthKumar for Bangalore South? – Prajwala Puttappa

Lately, it so happens that every conversation that I become a part of turns into a political discussion. From the past week, I have concluded from my interactions with the south Bangaloreans, that there exists a state of confusion amongst the voters! The Congress is fielding Mr Nandan Nilekani , the IT Czar of India and a game changer for one of the biggest companies India has seen in recent times-Infosys, against the 5 time MP and one of the major  BJP national leaders Mr. Ananth Kumar. The fact that this is a clash of titans in this constituency remains undisputable!  The credentials of both these leaders are incredible. From the day Congress decided to field Mr.Nilekani  in South Bangalore, I have been facing many questions from my fellow voters. Why should we vote for Mr Ananth Kumar for a 6th term? In spite of being a 5 time MP, what are his contributions towards the development of Bangalore? These are a couple of questions I have often come across. Many of us tend to get carried away by the fact that Mr.Nilekani is an educated man and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of this country.  But we should also question ourselves, whether it is enough to have a mere qualified man to run an able government. Hailing from the very same constituency and being an ardent supporter of Mr. Modi for PM, I am humbly trying to put forth my views on why we should vote for Mr. Ananth Kumar in the forthcoming general elections.

Firstly, I would like to touch upon the achievements of Mr. Ananth Kumar as our MP as this is the sole factor which ensures the votes of the educated class in favour of any leader. The biggest achievement of Mr. Ananth Kumar as I would like to classify it as, is the establishment of the Bengaluru/Kempe Gowda International Airport. As the Civil Aviation Minister in the Vajpayee government, Mr. Ananth Kumar signed a MOU to create a new world class international airport in our city which has become a reality today. Mr Ananth Kumar was instrumental in the commencement of Namma Bengaluru Metro, as he proposed a suburban rail system for Bengaluru in order to tackle the growing traffic congestion and  the Bengaluru Metro was approved by the Vajpayee government in 2003. Ananth Kumar has also ensured direct train connectivity from B’lore to various places in India like Ajmer and Jodhpur. As a member of National Infrastructure, he made sure that Bangalore was included in the Golden quadrilateral highway project. He has also ensured drinking water facilities to Bangaloreans as he was instrumental in getting Cauvery 2nd, 3rdand 4th phase to B’lore. This added 500 MLD to the existing water supply. Also, more than 500 mini water schemes are set up all over the constituency. Under the VAMBAY project, houses and community toilets were constructed for the urban poor class. Over 33,000 houses in K’taka and 10,000 houses in Bangalore have been allotted to them, the highlight of this project being the registration of the house in the name of the woman of the family. Under Adamya Chethana scheme, nutritious mid-day meals are provided to over 77,000 children of B’lore since 2003. He has constructed the Ambedkar stadium in vijaynagar, which matches the national quality standards and thereby encouraged the growth of sports in the city.

Mr. Ananth Kumar represented India in the UN General Assembly in 2012 and won appreciations from many international leaders for the talks he delivered on various issues like global warming, women empowerment, plight of small and land locked nations, so on and so forth. He is the only Kannadiga to address the UN general Assembly in Kannada, making the entire state swell with pride. The above stated achievements are only a highlight and many more such success stories can be found if one takes some time off and logs on to his website Mr. Ananth Kumar happens to have the highest attendance in the parliamentary sessions and thus has made sure that the voice of Bangalore is heard at the Parliament. The above fact combined with his achievements as our MP proves that he is not just another sleeping MP for the past five terms.

Many happen to believe that the biggest achievement of UPA government is the issuing of Adhar card to all the citizens and Mr. Nilekani is the man behind this Unique Identification system. Certainly, Mr. Nilekani is the man behind the system but the question before us is, is it really an achievement of the UPA as they claim it to be one? Is it of any benefit to the country or is it just another eye wash? My research on this led me to many interesting facts.

I realised that in reality, Adhar does not even create unique identities but generates a number by just taking the data of existing data of anybody, which could be true or fake. This data could be of a citizen of India or a foreigner’s as the identity proof is not verified. This has resulted in the issuing of Adhar cards to Bangladeshi infiltrates ensuring a vote bank for congress. You  might challenge this by saying that the job of keeping a check on whom the card has to be issued is that of the government and the security forces. While raising this objection, you should not forget the fact that the government at the centre is of UPA’s and this very man you are supporting is joining the very congress party.

The Supreme Court of India has given a verdict that “Adhar is Niradhar” and it is not mandatory for a citizen of India to hold an Adhar Card. The reasons that can be cited for this are that Adhar does not generate an unique ID to the citizens of India as the UIDAI claims because the database collected is not verified and Adhar is just a data collection exercise and creation of biometric database has been done several times by the Election Commission. The data collection algorithm can be written by any engineering student as well, and I do not understand why we need an IT Czar for this “uphill” task.

Instead of using our own resources and people, Mr.Nilekani has involved other MNCs such as Ernst & Young and Accenture for database management of Adhar. This raises further questions on security and privacy of the database provided. Powerful countries like US can always take advantage of the personal information available through this database in case they can get hold of them. In spite of the security threats, the government has overlooked this and gone ahead with partnering with the MNCs.

All the above stated points prove that Adhar is an inefficient system generating fake and illegal Ids to everybody and anybody, for which the government has spent a whopping 50,000 crores. Can Mr. Nilekani justify for this expenditure? If congress and Mr. Nilekani claim that Adhar is a part of their vision of the ‘new’ congress, they should also justify the outcome of this system and the money spent on this.

Mr. Nilekani worked for most of his lifetime in a company wedded to meritocracy and promoted merit over any other factor which resulted in the huge growth of Infosys. Mr. Nilekani, after joining the Congress, has said that reservations are a necessity even in the private sector. Why this U-turn as soon as he turned into a politician is the question that is haunting most of us! Has he become a hypocrite from being a meritocrat?

If Mr. Ananth Kumar is elected once again, the probability of him becoming a senior cabinet minister is very high as all opinion polls are predicting the rise of NDA to the power. Having a cabinet minister from our very own MP will definitely reflect on the developmental activities, rather than having just another opposition MP with no experience in governance whatsoever.

Most major policy making decisions are taken by the central government. Normal way of living in any constituency is affected by the economic policies adopted by the government. For a stable government, we need a stable government at the top. For this, the Modi led NDA should win at least 272 seats in order to avoid an unstable coalition government. If Ananth Kumar is elected, we can contribute one more seat towards a stable government. We should always bear it in mind that the broader picture is equally important because the country runs on the government’s policies. Being mature voters, we should look beyond the immediate results of our votes. Technically, a vote for Mr. Ananth Kumar is a vote for Mr. Modi whereas a vote for Mr.Nilekani is a vote for the same old sly Gandhis. So the choice for this elections for me is apparent and it is your turn to choose now.