Nandan Nilekani likely to contest a Lok Sabha seat from Karnataka on Congress ticket NEW DELHI: Congress Candidate, General Elections 2014 â€” that could soon be the new and unique identity of Nandan Nilekani, the boss of India's unique identification (UID) project. Talks with the Congress leadership are at an advanced stage and the ex-Infosys co-chairman is all but certain to get a party ticket, several people familiar with the talks told ET. The constituency is likely to be from Karnataka, Nilekani's home state. Nilekani, an ET Award winner for Policy Agent of the Year in 2011 and a member of the ET Awards Jury this year, said, "Although there is no final decision as yet, it is about making a choice at this stage. Getting into the mainstream and becoming one who can initiate change for the larger public good." The comments came during a recent wide-ranging interaction with ET on his future plans. Senior Congress leaders who spoke on the condition they not be identified told ET both Nilekani's and the party leadership's preference is that the UID boss stand as a Lok Sabha candidate. "Getting elected by popular vote will give him the extra legitimacy that needs to make a difference as a technocrat-politician", a senior Congress leader said. Nandan Nilekani likely to contest a Lok Sabha seat from Karnataka on Congress ticket But the Rajya Sabha route is also not being ruled out, the same leader said, adding a final call will be taken after the assembly elections in November. "That's when we get serious about candidate selections", the leader said. Congress leaders in Karnataka were enthused about the prospect, saying they are aware of the developments. One state leader said who did not want to be named said, "Nilekani would be a shoo-in if he chooses to contest from Bangalore South". This is a constituency dominated by "upper-class professionals". Nilekani has a home in the posh Koramangala area that is part of the Bangalore South constituency. This seat is now held by the BJP's Ananth Kumar. Significantly, Nilekani had turned down NRN Narayana Murthy's request in June to get back to InfosysBSE -0.25 % after Murthy had assumed leadershiop of the IT company. Nilekani, considered close to the Nehru-Gandhis, was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi to join the administration after the Congress-led UPA-2's 2009 election victory. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the high profile entrepreneur a cabinet rank appointment and had tasked him to plan and lead the UID project. That decision was near-universally feted as a bold and correct move. Later, in January this year, he was tasked to develop the Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) project that's considered to be a Sonia Gandhi-backed UPA-2 initiative. DBT involves transferring cash to welfare beneficiaries via an identification system based on UID and through technological platforms tailored for India's vast rural areas. Almost every significant political speech by Sonia Gandhi mentions the DBT scheme. "It's a key tool in her inclusive growth approach, a Congress leader said. Nilekani, the leader said, is therefore a key strategist in Congress plans anyway. "His induction as a candidate will make his current and future contributions even more potent", a Congress leader said. Senior officers in the government, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Nilekani's 4-plus years in the system has shown him to be fast learner and a person who can work the system despite bureaucratic opposition. Nilekani's UID project had faced several bureaucratic challenges, from sections of the Planning Commission as well as the home ministry. But the general assessment has been that Nilekani had shown the requisite toughness in the face of such opposition. Nandan Nilekani likely to contest a Lok Sabha seat from Karnataka on Congress ticket - The Economic Times ************************ He is said to be stading from Bangalore South, the seat that Anantha Kumar of the BJP has won five consecutive times! He will prove a good challenge.