Posted by: John Elliott | January 17, 2013

Businessmen boost Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial ambitions

Vib Guj NM closing 19_dsc_2643_595INDIA’S business leaders are joining ranks behind Narendra Modi, the controversial and egocentric chief minister of Gujarat and a leading light of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in advance of India’s next general election.

Their support was evident as the chairmen of some of the country’s biggest companies, led by Ratan Tata of the giant Tata group, lined up as speakers at the opening and closing sessions of last weekend’s “Vibrant Gujarat” event. Though none of the businessmen openly backed Mr Modi’s political ambitions (the only speaker who did was a regional politician from Russia), the implication was clear……………For my full article “Narendra Modi – Feeling vibrant” go to The Economist’s Banyan Asia blog, click here


IN ADDITION……….Other states, including West Bengal this week, have followed Gujarat’s example since it’s first Vibrant conference in 2008, but none has had anything anywhere near as large and international, nor with such big names. Declarations of investment intentions past, present and future included Rs34,000 crore ($6bn) from Mr Tata and Rs100,000 crore ($18bn) from Mukesh Ambani.

The government claimed some astronomic – and mostly uncheckable – results at the end of the event: investment intentions for 17,719 projects including 12,886 in small and medium size businesses promising 370,000 jobs; 10.6m people visiting the trade show; 58,000 delegates in 127 seminars at the conference, including 2,100 delegates from 121 countries who struck 2,670 “strategic partnership intentions”.

cover story March 26, 2012 "Modi Means Business but can he lead India"

cover story March 26, 2012 “Modi Means Business but can he lead India”

There are arguments about how far Gujarat’s economic growth of around 9%, and social indicators such as reduction in poverty, compare with better states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, but those and many other states do not have Gujarat’s efficient and largely corruption-free regime.

Since becoming chief minister since 2001, Modi has built on Gujarat’s long record as a leading industrial state, and on its entrepreneurial skills that for decades have produced successes ranging from the Ambanis to big companies in Africa and corner shops in the UK.

He has beaten the rest of India by linking virtually all the state’s 18,000 villages with metalled roads, regular electricity supplies (with industry subsidising small farmers by paying more), and internet connections, and has a big current drive on solar energy and wi-fi broadband networks. There is substantial land available ready for industry, which avoids land acquisition problems and delays of many other states and has also developed highways and ports.

Such a record impresses investors, despite the fact that, as a Time magazine (above) headline put it last March, Modi is India’s “most loved and loathed politician” . Investors are drawn by Gujarat’s continuity and execution of policy while being exasperated with the national government’s unstable reform agenda and poor record of implementing policies, and by many other states mixed record and rampant corruption.

Earlier posts on this blog on Narendra Modi:
Narendra Modi challenges the Gandhis’ Idea of India , Dec 21, 2012
Could Narendra Modi become the leader India needs? Sept 15, 2011
Mumbai votes for Narendra Modi as national leader , Dec 5, 2008
Will the current crisis lead to Narendra Modi as PM? Dec 3, 2008
Has India got a unifying politician like Obama? Nov 3, 2008
A Hindu nationalist win in Gujarat , Dec 27, 2007



  1. Yes Sir,Ambitious he is and also some what egocentric as you said. Being Ambitious is not a crime. Being egocentric in a place where every 98 persons out of 100 are corrupt and some how want to get into the center of power is not a bad idea and it bodes well for the future of the country. Otherwise the corrupt elements will hoodwink the well settled policy frame work put in place by him with untiring effort for fifteen years. He deserves credit for this. The dictatorial tendencies which Congress men warn us of is found more in their dynasty than any one else in this country

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