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How will Gujarat’s destiny change in case BJP loses the 2017 elections?

By Debu C

November 21, 2017

2017 Gujarat Elections

Today’s Gujarat owes its development to Narendra Modi and the BJP. It was after he took over as the Chief Minister of the state in 2001 that Gujarat began to shed its shackles of political instability and crawling development.

It was under his initiative that Vibrant Gujarat had its first launch in 2003 that brought laser-like attention to a state, rarely mentioned when it came to any references of industrially developed states in India.

The numbers speak for themselves. When Narendra Modi took over in 2001, the nominal GSDP for Gujarat was Rs 123,573 crore. In 2014-15, it stood at Rs 895,927 crore. As on 30 April 2017, 507 infrastructure projects were in progress in the state with a capital outlay of Rs 290,226 crore. That represents 5.7% of the national project cost outlay. Gujarat stands No.1 in 15 manufacturing sectors in India.

It was Narendra Modi who established a business-friendly administration in the state that has been consistently attracting international and domestic investors.

The first edition of Vibrant Gujarat in 2003 attracted 125 foreign delegates, 200 NRIs and around 200 officials from 45 countries. The 8th edition in Jan 2017 witnessed over 25,000 delegates with representatives from over 115 countries attending. It speaks of how Gujarat has showcased itself as a frontline state for investment and development.

So, if BJP loses in the forthcoming assembly elections, it will shake up the entire business community that has found comfort in political stability and a business-friendly administration for over a decade and a half. Business confidence will be the biggest casualty.
An immediate fallout will be on large business houses that have invested heavily in the state and have benefited from a supportive state government.
It was Narendra Modi’s famous telephone call to Ratan Tata that brought Tata Motors into Gujarat and set off an entire automobile manufacturing ecosystem to come up in Gujarat.

The Adani Group’s meteoric rise has been closely linked to Narendra Modi’s rise at the state level and later as Prime Minister. Today the stakes are high for the group in the sunrise defence manufacturing industry and mining out of Australia.

Both the Ambani brothers have placed their bets on Gujarat with heavy investments. Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Ltd and Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd, the Tata Group, L&T, among many others are banking on business continuity as they are investing heavily in defence manufacturing in the state.
Industries in pharmaceuticals, solar and other renewables, financial services, high speed rail and biotechnology, are all hoping for a stable Gujarat and would prefer the BJP remaining in power.

The stakes are high for all major stakeholders, especially the people, who are looking for new job opportunities being created to spur the economy.
If BJP loses in December 2017 Gujarat polls, the first casualty is going to be business confidence. An underprepared Congress with no clear agenda or local leadership is an anathema to the business community. They all remain nervous with each passing day.

If Congress does make a comeback in 2017 Gujarat legislative assembly election, it is unlikely to achieve a clear majority and will, therefore, have to rely on support from other parties and independents, each of whom will have their agenda. It will mean a period of political uncertainty as the BJP will certainly not remain a passive opposition.

A win for Congress will also mean the fragile communal amity achieved over the past decade and a half shall face a challenge with competing forces trying to take advantage of the shift in power. It will present the biggest challenge to the people of the state. Political uncertainty and communal instability will mean a slowdown in further investments, a situation the state can ill afford.

Lastly, a Congress at the state with BJP at the centre will inevitably mean the central government support in driving investments to the state. The Japanese-funded Bullet Train project is an example of the benefits of central initiative and support, while Bihar, in the post-election loss by BJP, stands as an example of the flip side of things. The investment flow into Assam in the post BJP win is yet another example.

People of Gujarat understand the close relationship between economics and politics, and they will certainly keep that in mind as they head towards their respective polling booths in Gujarat.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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