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Modi returns, industry smiles

Narendra Modi's win draws cheers from the business community, which says a change in government could have caused uncertainty for investments, report Suman Layak & Lalatendu Mishra.

business Updated: Dec 23, 2007 23:06 IST

The stunning victory of pro-industry Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi drew cheers from the business community, which said a change in government could have caused uncertainty for investments.

Modi’s enthusiastic support to the community was criticised by the Congress, whose leaders said he claimed to represent 5.5 crore Gujaratis but only cared for five crorepatis (billionaires), a reference to several major industrial houses that have endorsed Modi’s business-friendly policies.

“The pace of growth in Gujarat will definitely be accelerated by Modi, who is known for changing the investment climate in the state,” said Venugopal Dhoot, president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce president and group chairman of Videocon.

“This election will provide relief to all the businessmen who had signed a memorandum of understanding with this government. A change might have led the new government to scrap the old MoUs,” said Arvindlal Kapadia, president of the Surat-based Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

But there were others who did not want to express an opinion. A prominent Ahmedabad-based businessman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Why should I comment and get into a controversy? These are bad times.”

Another Mumbai-based company, probably one of the biggest investors in the state, did not have a comment either.

Modi had made business-friendliness one of the trademarks of his rule and had gone all out to woo businessmen to invest in the state in the last five years.

“Clearly with this mandate, the momentum of economic development of the people of Gujarat will be accelerated,” said Jayesh Buch, the resident director of Essar for Gujarat.