India Inc takes on Sangh hotheads

NEW DELHI(TOI): Corporate India had been complaining in private about Sangh hotheads derailing the development agenda, but on Tuesday it decided to speak up.

The new FICCI president, Jyotsna Suri, minced no words. “It (recent statements of hotheads) is certainly diluting the focus and it is uncalled for. It is detrimental to the (development) agenda… The government should do some straightening out. It’s definitely diverting (focus). It is an irritant,” she told TOI.

Recent statements such as minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti’s ‘Ramzaade-haramzaade’ tirade, HRD ministry creating a controversy over Christmas holiday and VHP and RSS leaders’ stridency on religious conversions, have only helped the Opposition to hold up Parliament and prevent the passage of several key Bills. “Look at the headlines, they are about conversions, not development,” said a honcho.

Assocham president Rana Kapoor felt there was no time to brook delays in carrying out key reforms measures. “Irrespective of these right-wing distractions, government should firmly demonstrate its economic development agenda by ensuring that bills on GST, insurance and coal are passed by ordinance or by the combined strength of both Houses. This will give confidence and conviction to its economic policies,” he said.

Another industry group, CII, too pushed for reforms. “The nation loses out if the Parliament doesn’t function. Some people may have thought that with the BJP coming to power, they can push their agenda. But the government’s focus is very clear. From PM downwards, everyone is trying to push the development agenda. We are happy that the government is looking at other options such as an ordinance to push through some decisions,” said CII president Ajay Shriram.

There was also a sense of deja vu for some business leaders as the UPA also had failed to pass several bills as the BJP had acted the spoiler. “The events in the Rajya Sabha over the past fortnight have left me disappointed. I am filled with a sense of deja vu because this has happened many times before… The winter session was a godsend (opportunity) to push through legislation that would have shown that India finally means business. Instead, it turned out to be a wasted opportunity. Now, we have to prove ourselves afresh. As I have said before, with great power, comes great responsibility,” said Hero MotoCorp vice-chairman & MD Pawan Munjal.

HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh suggested that political parties should bridge their differences and help push the reforms strategy. “We want a democracy and not a dysfunctional democracy. It hurts the nation and the people. The government has demonstrated its commitment to the development agenda in the way the FM worked overtime on GST and a series of steps on FDI, where rules have been eased for defence and construction,” he said.

“The ‘ghar wapsi’ agenda of any section of the society will create a huge dent in the government’s growth agenda… Who will invest in a country where a law-and-order situation may arise over a period of time?” asked Assocham secretary-general DS Rawat.