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Rahul takes India Inc on board on route to 2014: AK Bhattacharya


Updated: April 4, 2013, 7:06 PM IST
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Rahul takes India Inc on board on route to 2014: AK Bhattacharya
Did Rahul Gandhi manage to woo India Inc?

Rahul Gandhi's address at CII, aimed at the captains of Indian industry, did not touch upon specific policy measures that may benefit the industry but instead charted out his broader vision of an India where growth and prosperity are inclusive. How much will it assuage the worries of the industry with the country just a year away from general elections? Business Standard editor AK Bhattacharya joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Have we not heard since years that we need reforms, policies etc.When will we have solutions and implementations. I read that Indian INC are all praising on Rahul's speech, I guess they are talking about his language fluency rather than contents.What positives do see in this speech? Asked by: Anand Patil

A. I think the most important take-away from Rahul Gandhi's speech today was his candid admission that the Congress too needs to partner with India Inc and that the politics of inclusion would be incomplete without taking India Inc on board. That admission shows a shift in the way the Congress and Rahul Gandhi have been looking at industry.

Q. Did he not try to rephrase what his grandmother had said years ago garibi hatao by laying emphasis on inclusive growth which is nothing but mirage? Asked by: NC Sinha

A. No, I think in this address, Rahul Gandhi went beyond that message of inclusive growth. His overture to industry was significant in that he wanted industry to be a partner of the government and the Congress in the latter's journey towards achieving inclusive growth.

Q. I feel, it was a speech which was aimed at countering the speeches of Modi @ India Today Conclave and Sriram College. Whats your view on that? If you feel the same way like I do, do you think that is gonna work? Asked by: Adarsh

A. I think there is a grain of truth in what you say. Modi's speech at the India Today conclave and his address at the Sriram College of Commerce were certainly addressed by Rahul Gandhi. His message on harmony, political inclusion and also the use of some smart phrases - were all aimed at countering Mr Modi's appeal. Rahul Gandhi seemed to suggest he was not just for growth, but growth with governance, harmony, decentralisation and all in partnership with industry. Wonder how Mr Modi would respond to this!

Q. I was amazed at how Mr Rahul Gandhi had just prepared for a single answer to all the questions he faced.So when he was asked about the water scarcity and depleting water tables,he said that the system needs to be changed and people's voice have to be heard.Don't you find that baffling? Asked by: Ankit

A. Yes, it is interesting that he chose to address questions while sauntering across the dais and go well beyond the scope of the questions thrown at him. I sense he was eager to have his say on the key issues that bothered him. So whatever be the question, he moulded them to pack in his own stuff. He was eager that he had got an important forum which he wanted to use to reveal himself.

Q. If one of the most powerful man in our country today talks of the problems that the country faces,who will provide the solutions that too being in power for the last 9 years? Asked by: Ankit

A. Well, he answered that question of yours. He said that he should not be seen as the man on the horse charging across the street and finding solutions for the rest. He said people must be involved to solve their problems, and not through a top-down approach. You may take that answer or leave it. It is better if you look at this speech to understand him a little more and you may well be a little disappointed.

Q. Mr. Bhattacharya.. What was the purpose of this speech?..and do you think he was able to live up to the high expectations?..My guess is that he has managed to assuage a lot of fears by coming out and speaking to the Indian INC.. This can only help him and not otherwise.. Asked by: JK

A. I think this is a speech to build his and the Congress' rapport with big business, which I suspect had snapped some time ago. His open invitation to industry to be a partner of the government and the Congress in building infrastructure, transform the education system and provide voices to the voiceless was an effort to make industry a stakeholder in the party's drive towards achieving inclusive growth. You could see in this a new shade of the Congress poll strategy.

Q. Whenever Rahul speaks, it shows that he speaks more from heart than mind.What's your take? Asked by: Uttam

A. I would like to disagree at least in this case. I think this was a well-rehearsed address. There were several signs that established that he had been adequately briefed what to say and what not to say. It is a fact that he, once at least, chose to depart from what he was advised against. There is a certain way he talks that gives the impression of his speaking from his heart. That may well be true. But what he spoke was thought through by him, it seemed to me.

Q. The speech was more of an election speech talking of "ills and corrective actions". But Rahul Gandhi's record of getting his ideas implemented is zero. Other than tall speeches and night halts at Dalit homes, his record is very poor. In fact his attendence in Parliament and intervention in important issues is left much to be desired. Don't you think the speech was more of trying to counter Modi juggernaut than actually trying to do something concrete. Asked by: Shiladitya

A. Agree with you broadly. He was trying to counter the Modi message through his reiteration of harmony, inclusive growth and governance through decentralised administration where a billion people's problems could be solved more easily by the people rather than through a top-down approach. I think this was a political speech. That is how this should be seen.

Q. Will Rahul Gandhi be able to match upto Modi..as he only comes out once a year but we regularly hear Modi speak in some forum.. Asked by: Rohit

A. Well, you must have heard his promise!! He has said that he would like such meetings a bit more often!!!

Q. We fee Rahul Gandhi, don't want to be in politics he is like a Mom's Son. No specific answer to the Industry or Nation. Will he be able to face a common man for a question answer round leave aside Modi Asked by: Rahul Kaushal

A. Difficult to answer that question. His speech had many political platitudes. He seemed to be more comfortable mouthing those grand ideas. Whether he would be able to implement them or answer questions from a common man, it is difficult to answer.

Q. When will our politicians grow and start applauding when someone like Rahul dares to speak out his heart? Asked by: Uttam

A. Why do you want politicians to applaud if they don't like Rahul Gandhi's decision to bare his heart? Let the politicians have their free will and choice!

Q. The way BJP spokesmen lined to criticize Rahul, doesn't it show their nervousness with his approach which is more people centric than Individual centric that BJP is trying to promote? Asked by: Uttam

A. BJP would criticised Rahul Gandhi's speech either way. So, let us not draw any conclusions from that response.

Q. Rahul always seemed to have lot of ideas. But they remain ideas. There is no sign of implementation anywhere? Does he really mean what he say? Asked by: Narayan

A. A difficult question. I think he is still struggling to find answers to many of his fundamental questions on making a difference.

Q. When I compare Modi's Speech and Q&A at India Today Conclave with Rahul's today's speech and subsequent Q&A I feel Rahul does have a edge... However the bigger question is whether Rahul is only a man with lots of good ideas with near zero implementation and Modi is one who executes his simple ideas??? Ur take sir... Asked by: Rizwan

A. I think you summed up the issues well. Rahul Gandhi's ideas are nothing new. Executing them has always been difficult. But there is no evidence as yet of him in charge of any project where we could see his skills at execution. Comparing him with Modi at this stage is not fair.

Q. Mr Bhattacharya, as you mentioned in one of your answers, the rapport is built by actions and not words, so how do you think India Inc will have the trust and confidence. If this has not happened till now, how will it happen in future? Asked by: Rakesh

A. You are right. You have to wait to see what Rahul Gandhi's next action is going to be or it was all empty talk. He did say though that he would like to have more such sessions!

Q. Are not the big industries ripping the fruits of the government. That's why are influencing the gov for their benefit..every one know..now what new Mr Gandhi had told..how much more he wants industry to be part of govt? Asked by: Kiran

A. Yes, he has not made that point very clear. A good question. What should be the nature of this partnership?

Q. Politicians like Rahul Modi come to these forum and speak just to give news channel a topic for their debate in the evening show..I don't think just speaking will ever solve any of the problem listed by them. Asked by: Raj

A. Agree.

Q. Rahul Ghandi will able to attract youth in 2014 election post his today's speech? Will congress do better in Karnataka assembly pool? Asked by: Deepak Desai

A. Congress would have done better in Karnataka even without Rahul Gandhi or his speech today.

Q. Do you see him distancing himself from this failed govt and trying to portray a new image. Asked by: Rahul

A. I think he is trying to be a change agent. To be so, it requires a certain degree of distancing at least in perception. That I think he is definitely trying to do.

First Published: April 4, 2013, 7:06 PM IST
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