Modi leaves Bengal business impressed

Kolkata, April 9 (IANS) The maiden address of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to Bengal businessmen Tuesday had a large number of them bowled over, with some industry captains pitching for the sauve BJP leader as a potential prime minister.

“I think development matters. Political ideology does not matter to us. We want him (Modi) to be a national leader. We want him to govern India,” city-based Keventor Group chairman M.K. Jalan told reporters here.

Jalan, who was present at a special session organised by the industry lobbes in Kolkata, also held a closed-door meeting with Modi.

The special session was organised jointly by MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Bharat Chamber of Commerce at a city five-star hotel.

Viresh Oberoi, managing director of mjuncion Services Ltd., said Modi’s speech was “very inspiring”.

“He is very erudite. He was clear about what he said. It was very inspiring,” said Oberoi, who was recently elected as the deputy chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Eastern Region.

Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader should be made the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2014, Oberoi said: “It is a political decision. But I think the party should make him its prime ministerial candidate.”

Bharat Chamber of Commerce president Ashok Aikat was also floored by the charismatic-as-well-as controversial leader’s talk.

“He has a clear vision. He has a vision on everything, including the country’s foreign policy,” Aikat pointed out.

Following Modi’s hour-long talk on how he transformed Gujarat into one of the fastest growing states in India, many entrepreneurs held closed-door meetings with him.

Videocon chairman Venugopal Dhoot, who came to Kolkata to meet Modi, said the Gujarat chief minister was getting “tremendous response” from the city’s chambers of commerce as he was advocating free economy.

“Austrian school of thought always talked about free economy and distribution of profit among people. And that is what Mr Modi is advocating, that is why he has been getting a tremendous response from all the chambers of commerce,” Dhoot said.

“His model is about doing the business fast and taking the decisions fast. That he did in Gujarat. If he starts doing the same thing in India, industrialisation of India as well as GDP growth would be very fast,” the industrialist said.

MCC Chamber of Commerce president Deepak Jalan described Modi as one who had “radical vision” on economic growth.

While there was a rush among Bengal industry captains to rub shoulders with the BJP’s show-case chief minister, a few prominent industrialists were missing from the programme.

Sanjeev Goenka of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Harsh Neotia of Ambuja Realty, C.K. Dhanuka of Dhunseri Petrochem and Tea Ltd., and Sanjay Budhia, Patton Group managing director, were among those conspicuous by their absence.

Speculation was rife in the run-up to the event that several leading entrepreneurs of the state would stay away as they were wary of annoying Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by being seen with the Gujarat strongman.

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