Saturday, October 22, 2005

Parochial Politics of Banglore

As Deve Gowda Narayan Murthy feud rages publicly, it exposes the bad side of Indian politicians. There are three reasons to theorize about what is happening here:

- Deve Gowda has been always pro farmer. Unfortunately he is one of those old or wrong school types who think that welfare for farmers can only come at the cost of Industry or Corporate world. Hence, any political agenda which hurts Corporate world is good, that is the logic.
- What Deve Gowda has contributed in his entire public life to India, not a small achievement for a politician considering his electoral acumen and success; in the end gets dwarfed by what contributed by Murthy and Premji. Both created sustainable economic activity, generated huge number of jobs, pioneered a world class new business model and by and large contributed the renaissance of contemporary Indian Thinking. So probably it gives Deve Gowda the blues and envy. Well, he should be envious but his response is wrong. You want to emulate these Corporate Leaders and see what you can take it for the larger public. Response to attempt to constrain them is totally wrong headed.
- Finally, the nasty suspicion – is cast playing any role here? I am not certain of facts here as far as what is the cast of Murthy (and I have no eagerness to know as well). But I guess if he is coming from upper caste strata of Kanada Society then Gowda may want to play the old style narrow minded caste politics and simply keep on hounding Murthy. I hope I am wrong on this. But with Gowda type politicians; you never know and you can never rule out that possibility.

What is the solution? Considering Gowda’s total control on the current Karnataka Government, it is hard to expect anything to happen which does not pleases him. Some suggest that Congress snap the ties and call for an election to risk for a majority mandate. It is doubtful if that will happen. Meanwhile Murthy did the right thing by getting away from this avoidable mess. He has lot many better things to do.

Premji has been striking kind of a different note all along – not taking on the war path with the politico’s. His may be more productive tact. Bur there is no reason for Infosys or Murthy to change their way. Each Corporation, each culture finds its own way to deal with the prevailing political culture.

The only realistic solution will be Congress at Center flexes more muscle. True, directly it can not do much in these infrastructure issues at the state level. But the Center has lot of levers, complete grip on a purse which indeed has some money and many other known and unknown ways. If the Center decides to tighten up the screws further, we may get Gowda to sing a different tune.

Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA 95111
October 22, 2005.

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