They both hail from Karnataka. They were both colleagues at Patni Computer Services. They are both co-founders of Infosys. Both are former chairmen of the iconic IT company. One is 62, the other is 54. One is a Padma Vibhushan, one is a Padma Bhushan. Both are routinely in the list of influential leaders, admired leaders, etc.
And let’s admit it, both are mighty ambitious with solutions for all the problems in the flat world. One headed the international airport project; the other headed the Bangalore Agenda Task Force. Yet, has Nandan Mohan Rao Nilekani stolen a decisive march over Nagavara Rama Rao Narayana Murthy in the “leadership race”?
First Nilekani earned greater exposure and accolades for his book Imagining India, than Murthy did for his collection of speeches, A better India, A better world. Now, after being mentioned as a possible candidate for the Planning Commission, Nilekani has been appointed head of a project to develop ID cards for all Indians.
Does Nilekani’s appointment to a Cabinet rank post give him a headstart over Murthy, whose hopes of becoming President of India were scuppered by the row over the rendition of the national anthem? Or will Murthy bounce back?