Corporate leaders on Thursday hailed the re-election of Narendra Modi in Gujarat’s assembly elections as victory for an investment-friendly regime, seeing the BJP chief minister as a pragmatic and decisive personality who has helped the state industrialise fast.
Some, however, were guarded in their response as they negotiated political differences and social issues critical to their businesses.
“The stability in the state would enhance confidence of the industry and herald new investments,” Adi Godrej, president of the Confederation of India Industry said in a statement.
The controversial chief minister has been criticised for mis-governance during the religious riots that rocked Gujarat in 2002, but his action on the economic front has won praise.
Modi captured industry’s imagination in 2008 when he rolled out the red carpet to Tata Motors when it decided to pull out of West Bengal following political oppositionto its planned factory in Singur to manufacture its small car Nano.
The chief minister’s pro-active approach in inviting Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata and providing incentives to his company for the Rs. 2,000-crore plant in Sanand clinched the deal that became a showpiece for other investors.
Gujarat, among many incentives, offered a soft loan at an interest of 0.1%, repayable over 20 years, to the Tatas.
“This (victory) will lead to many more business-friendly measures and policies that the state is known for and greatly help industry to invest more in the state,” said Harsh Pati Singhania, director, JK Organisation.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry did not offer any comments on Modi’s victory. An Assocham spokesman said the chamber was yet to issue a statement on the issue.
The Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME) said Gujarat seemed to have a big business bias. It said the state government was not particularly focussing on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“The policies and programmes have not been aimed at MSMEs, though they have been flourishing in the state. But the government must look at making land and power available to them as well just the way it is trying to facilitate the large companies,” FISME president VK Agarwal told HT.
Several companies opted to be discreetly safe by deciding not to comment on the victory to avoid being seen as “Modi-supporters”.
The BJP is the main opposition party to the Congress-led central government. With general elections due in 2014 some businesses are guarded in their response.