Contesting from Ward 46, techie Ajit Patil is vying to make low-cost internet available for all. He plans to improve Belagavi’s administration with tech interventions
On a pleasant Sunday morning, Sumitra Bangar, a resident of Ramteerth Nagar, receives a call, requesting her to cast her vote for the upcoming Belagavi City Corporation election on September 3. The caller seeks his support to vote for a leader and not a politician.
It was a pre-recorded call, one of the many tech ideas designed and deployed by Ajit Patil, who is contesting the election from Ward 46. Patil is the founder of FAAST, Belagavi’s first company to offer low-cost internet service. Even as most other candidates continue relying on old-school, door-to-door campaigning, despite Covid concerns, Patil has adopted technological interventions to reach out to the voters in a safe and secure manner.
His team is probably the first and only team in the history of Belagavi City Corporation election to use high-end campaigning methods: drones for video footage; GPS live location tracking for efficient logistics management; targeted social media marketing; WhatsApp engagement via QR code invites; automated phone calls; GPS geofencing for campaign management; and other such technologies.
Team of achievers
Patil’s team comprises high-flying professionals such as chartered accountants, software engineers, entrepreneurs, advocates and others.
If elected to serve as the corporator of his ward, Patil promises to: deploy CCTV cameras at public places to ensure safety of women and children; provide low-cost internet to students; build sports corridors; build pay-and-use-model public toilets; build ward clinics; and take up a host of welfare projects.
“I jumped into this campaign because I feel we are missing out on the big opportunity of making Belagavi the most developed city in the state. And it is possible! It is not happening because we don’t have strong leaders with political will to do public good,” says Prakash Tigadi, a chartered accountant who is part of Patil’s team.
A city-based entrepreneur, Patil is currently working on building a Made-in-Belagavi electric bike. He is an engineer by education and has worked with MNCs such as EMC2 and Symantec in Singapore and Canada. He moved back to his hometown Belagavi so that he could use his expertise for the growth of his city.
Son of a soldier, Patil says, “I love this city. The city has amazing culture and huge potential to grow. I always wanted to come back and contribute whatever little I can for the development of this city and our people.”
Patil’s first venture was to educate the youth of Belagavi in the latest technology such as cloud computing, ethical hacking and others. Realising the importance of cheap and fast internet in the growth of students, he founded FAAST internet company, which, for the first time in the city, offered 50 GB data at a speed of 10 MBPS for as low as Rs 500 per month.
He installed Wi-Fi in the Court complex, helping hundreds of visitors to access the internet for free. One of his top promises in his manifesto is subsidised internet. During Covid 19 lockdown last year, Patil volunteered with Belagavi City administration to set up surveillance of containment zones along with integrating live feed from 12 drones with the Smart City command centre.
“I believe not just schools and colleges, but every household in Belagavi should get subsidised or free internet as it is extremely important for our youth’s development,” says Patil.
“I hope the people of Belagavi would give me an opportunity to use my knowledge of technology for public good,” he says.