Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remains India Inc’s first choice for the nation’s top job, according to a poll of senior business executives across the country. Opposition leader LK Advani comes a close second.
<b1>The findings of the Hindustan Times-Cfore poll held through Thursday and Friday came days after some of the best-known faces of India Inc backed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial candidate.
Those comments set off speculation about Modi’s political ambitions and a possible challenge to Advani, so far projected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
On Saturday, Modi came out to say he isn’t in the race. "After the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP will come to power and LK Advani will be the prime minister,” Modi said, addressing a meeting in Halol, Gujarat.
The HT-Cfore poll — which covered 226 senior executives across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad — found that a majority of business leaders would trade enthusiasm for experience, especially in times of crisis.
Modi won only 12 per cent votes, or half of what Advani got, and finished fourth in the poll.
Rahul Gandhi did a shade better to come third with 14 per cent votes.
"Industry looks for values, leadership qualities and the ability to guide the country through the tough times that we are experiencing now,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of Confederation of Indian Industry.
When it comes to the prime minister’s job, Banerjee said: “We look for the same attributes as every citizen does.”