The Telegraph
Saturday , January 11 , 2014
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Ficci to lend an ear to Modi

Modi: Discussion time

New Delhi, Jan. 10: Apex business association Ficci will hold its executive committee meeting in Gandhinagar, with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi slated to address it and outline his vision for the economy.

The meeting will be attended by Ficci president Sidharth Birla, HSBC’s Naina Lal Kidwai, Wockhardt’s Habil Khorakiwala, Godfrey Phillips’s K.K. Modi, Ambuja Group’s Harsh Neotia, and JK Group’s Harsh Pati Singhania.

Besides interacting with Modi, the meet may give industrialists a chance to clear the air over certain proposals such as the banking transaction tax, which the BJP had mooted as a possible replacement of income tax.

Industrialists have not welcomed the novel measure, which many fear may increase their taxation burden.

The BJP is believed to have given a silent burial to the proposal, but a word from Modi may soothe rankled nerves. He has held several meetings with industrialists in the past and addressed the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Tuesday to drum up support from industry leaders.

These meets seem to have paid handsome dividends, too. A Nielsen opinion poll done for the third quarter of this fiscal had revealed that Modi enjoyed the support of three quarters of the 100 CEOs polled.

Infosys executive chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy had spoken favourably about the Gujarat chief minister, while the Vibrant Gujarat programme last year had drawn a galaxy of top industrialists, including the Ambani brothers, Ratan Tata and Anand Mahindra.

The Ficci executive committee meeting on January 15 will be held at Mahatma Gandhi Mandir, a convention centre Modi had built for Vibrant Gujarat in a record 18 months.

Neotia said, “We rotate meetings between cities. This time it is Ahmedabad. We will take the opportunity to hear him talk about his vision for the future.”

Other Ficci officials said the last four national executive committee meetings were held in Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore and Mumbai.