Industry sees future hope in Rahul

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 5.04.13
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Industrialists at the CII meeting. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, April 4: Rahul Gandhi’s straight “from the heart” speech at industry body CII’s annual conference today struck a chord with India Inc., with at least one business captain saying it set the tone for the future.

Although the Congress vice-president did not directly address problems faced by industry houses in his 75-minute speech, his first before any business audience, most top executives agreed with his suggestion on the need to work more closely with the government on policy issues.

The corporate leaders, who listened with rapt attention, gave Rahul a standing ovation at the end of the session.

Bharti Airtel chairperson Sunil Bharti Mittal said the speech was rare and inspirational. “It was an outstanding speech,” he said. “He understood the importance of technology and inclusion, which gives us hope (about him) as (the) future leader.”

Bosch managing director V.K. Viswanathan felt Rahul’s speech was “genuine and sincere” and “full of passion”.

“He spoke from the heart about his vision and passion for policy change. He doesn’t seem to be a politician, but rather a leader who wants to take everyone on board in a harmonious way.”

CII president Adi Godrej said it was a “very good” speech. “His ideas are brilliant. Industry has to see how it can work with the government. We should work in unison for greater progress.”

Infosys co-chairperson and the business chamber’s president-designate, S. Gopalakrishnan, felt Rahul’s first engagement with the community met industry’s expectations. “It sets the tone for the future. He spoke very broadly about various issues. I see this as a better collaboration between industry and government.”

Raghupati Singhania, the vice-chairperson and managing director of JK Tyre & Industries, said the speech was direct from the heart.

“I liked it. I think he spoke from his heart,” agreed Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister. “He talked about inclusive growth and collaboration.”

About the possibility of Rahul becoming the Prime Minister, veteran industrialist Rahul Bajaj said he would support a good democratic leader rather than someone “very dictatorial”.

“People say he (Rahul) does not have any experience… (but) I’m impressed by his frankness and his frankness of ideas. He talked about the work of MPs and MLAs. He rightly said a team needs a good leader for doing things right.”

But there were some who said they would have liked Rahul to come up with solutions. “He spoke from the heart on many challenges but what I would like to hear from him are solutions,” said former Infosys director T.V. Mohandas Pai.

Fortis Healthcare executive chairperson Malvinder Mohan Singh said Rahul was aware of the reality. “He spoke from the heart. It was full of conviction and belief. He knows the reality and is working very hard to take things in the right direction.”