Calcutta, Sept. 28: Rahul Gandhi invited a set of industrialists to his bungalow in New Delhi today and engaged in a “freewheeling” discussion on the state of the economy for nearly two hours.
The seven industrialists invited by the Congress vice-president’s office included two from Calcutta. One participant described the meeting as “absolutely brilliant”.
“It (the discussion) was candid and detailed. We couldn’t have asked for more,” the industrialist said.
The invitees included RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka, Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma, Bengal Ambuja Housing Development Ltd managing director Harshavardhan Neotia and the global head of Hindustan Unilever’s home care business, Nitin Paranjpe.
None of the participants was willing to be quoted. However, one of them said Rahul seemed relaxed and at ease with himself.
“There was no sign of any stress on account of the turmoil caused by his comments yesterday (against the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers),” said another.
One of the industrialists said Rahul mentioned the ordinance “in passing”.
“We discussed a range of issues about the state of the economy. It was a freewheeling discussion. I can say there was politeness in the tone but not in the content,” said one of the participants.
Rahul had championed the new land bill that many industrialists feel could make acquiring land for new plants difficult.
Sources said the invitees raised their concerns on this at the meeting. Everyone was given ample time to broach issues and debate with Rahul.
Unlike Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi, Rahul is not known to interact with industry leaders all too often.