Indian Big Business: We Want Modi as Prime Minister
poll by India’s Economic Times.Modi is the controversial Chief Minister of Gujarat and the presumptive PM candidate for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, whose main rival, Rahul, is the heir apparent to the Nehru-Gandhi line in the ruling Congress Party. Rahul is maturing politically, but his party is beset by corruption scandals and struggling to manage the most dangerous economic crisis in decades. Indian big business has lost faith in Congress and doesn’t think Rahul is the one to fix things.Modi, meanwhile, is universally recognized as business friendly and efficient. In 2008, when Tata Motors had trouble with a plant in West Bengal, where it planned to manufacture the Nano, the world’s cheapest car, Modi convinced Ratan Tata to move the plant to Gujarat. Ford, Peugeot, Asia Motor Works, and many other heavy industry companies have also found a welcome home in Modi’s Gujarat.Modi may be a friend to big business, judging from the Times‘s overwhelming poll results, but to many Indian voters and some governments abroad he is a distasteful figure. Modi has never adequately dispelled suspicions over his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, and he is under fire for more recent abuses of power, including accusations by a former high-ranking police officer that he approved extrajudicial executions of terrorist suspects. The US still refuses to issue him a visa; England has only recently become slightly friendlier. But with India’s economy in serious trouble, the Congress Party flailing, and Indians and foreign investors looking earnestly for a politician who has the strength, experience, and determination to manage the crisis, Modi seems more and more like the top man for the top job.