Ahmedabad, Feb. 20: They call themselves the Resurgent Group of Gujarat: top state industrialists who have come together to protect the “glory of Gujarat” — a cause championed by Narendra Modi.
But the group — comprising luminaries like Karsan Patel of Nirma, Gautam Adani of the Adani group, I.A. Modi (Cadila Pharmaceuticals), Pankaj Patel (Cadila Health Care), Chintan Parikh (Ashima) and Anil Baker of the Bakeri group — are not ready yet to face the media with their version of “Gujarat gaurav”.
The group today called a news conference ostensibly to explain why certain business lobbies (read the CII) were inimical to Gujarat’s progress, but inexplicably called it off at the last moment.
The group has been formed to take on “forces maligning the state”. A press note announcing the conference said the group was “deeply concerned about the concerted efforts being made to tarnish the image of peace-loving Gujaratis”.
The industrialists, who are providing cover to chief minister Modi after businessmen launched attacks on him both in New Delhi and Mumbai, are ready to fight it out with the CII.
The frosty relations between Modi and the CII came into the open both at functions the chief minister attended and those he chose to boycott. Miffed by the pointed questions hurled at him in CII functions, Modi made his displeasure apparent when he “boycotted” the Petrominex Exhibition, organised by the Gas Authority of India and the CII.
A week before the function, the chief minister’s office had confirmed Modi would attend but he changed his mind on the day the exhibition was to be inaugurated. A terse one-liner from the CMO simply said the chief minister was “busy”.
The Resurgent Group had earlier issued an appeal to politicians and the national press to refrain from “tarnishing” Gujarat’s image. They feel the cold war with the CII could tar the “investment friendly environment” of the state.
The group has claimed that the communal disturbances in Gujarat were a “social mishap” and things were back to normal. “The law and order situation is good,’’ the press note said.
The group — some of its members are affiliated to the CII — said those asking “uncomfortable” questions wanted to give Gujarat a bad name though the state was essentially “rich, progressive and peaceful”.
Some time ago, an activist had asked Modi at a business seminar if the post-Godhra violence was conducive to development. Then came the outburst by Rahul Bajaj and Jamshyd Godrej in Delhi, who asked him pointed questions on law and order.
Without naming the CII, the note said some in the national industrial federation had expressed “untimely apprehension, without any context, pertaining to the law and order situation in the state”. But it was obvious that Gujarat is a peaceful place. “Even at midnight any person can freely move,” the note said.