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MODI WOOS GLOBAL INVESTORS

Narendra Modi’s motivation raked in Rs 7 lakh - Manohar Lal Khattar, Former CM, Haryana

Lok Sabha election was held soon after the Kargil War. Many soldiers and officers of the Army had been martyred in the war. Modi ji asked, in Haryana can’t we give ticket to some martyr’s wife or family member as a tribute to his sacrifice? I scouted for names and finally after 5-6 days zeroed in on Sudha Yadav, who went on to win the election and become an MP. As soon as she was given ticket by the party, there was a resounding support for her in the area. But Sudha ji neither had any political exposure or experience, nor did she have much resources to fight the polls. So, one day Modi ji called a meeting of the karyakartas to garner resources for her. He told them that whenever he went home, his mother always put some money into his pocket. Being a pracharak, he didn’t need money and so he always kept them with him to use for some good cause. So, for Sudha ji, he first donated his share of money into the kalash (urn) designated for the purpose. This motivated others and donations soon started flowing in. People enthusiastically participated in the donation programme, and some even pledged lakhs of rupees. You won’t believe, within no time, we had Rs 7 lakh in our kitty. In 1999, Rs 7 lakh was a big amount and this easily helped us undertake the election expenses to ensure Sudha ji’s win.

Tata’s tryst with Gujarat has much to do with Modi’s Guarantee - Ajay Umat, Journalist, Gujarat

I distinctly remember that in the early 2000s Ratan Tata had said in some context that you are stupid if you are investing in Gujarat. It was around this time, in 2003-2204 that Modi ji started the Vibrant Gujarat initiative to woo industrialists to invest in the state. It was known as Vibrant Gujarat Investment Summit, and in 2007, Modi ji told me that I have heard Ratan Tata saying after a press conference that if the West Bengal government is unable to provide land and if the locals in Singur are unwilling to allow investment in the Nano plant, I will try to convince my stakeholders and won’t mind moving out of the state. This was an important lead for the Gujarat CM. He immediately sent a ‘su-swagatam’ (welcome greeting) message to Ratan Tata. When Tata sought to know who this message was from, Modi ji said it is me, the CM of Gujarat. Tata was surprised and he said, please tell me what it. To this Modi ji said, I will provide you with all the facilities you need. You invest in my state. Ratan Tata was a bit apprehensive. He said I am already deep in water. What’s the guarantee that the project won’t meet the same fate in Gujarat as it was seeing Bengal. Modi ji said, it is my guarantee. There won’t be any problem here. Finally, he convinced the Tata chairman and on the CM’s invitation, he sent teams to locate a suitable site in Gujarat. Modi ji offered them three sites and the team finally zeroed in on Sanand for the automobile plant. Once done, Tata had another apprehension. He asked, but when will the land be available to us? Modi ji said, within 72 hours. And in 72 hours, not only the land was ready but also all the planning and ancillary requirements were finalised. Ratan Tata came on Dussehra and signed the papers. In the next Vibrant Gujarat summit, the Tata boss said, you are stupid if you are not investing in Gujarat!

The restructuring of investors’ summit, the Modi way - Sudhir Mehta, Chairman, Torrent Group

I remember when the first investors’ summit was held in 2003, it was greeted with lots of criticism as everyone thought no one was going to attend the event or invest in the state at the time of global downturn. Also, it was soon after the Kutch earthquake and people had very little expectations from Gujarat. The event was held on a much smaller scale and the venue was Tagore Hall, which had a capacity to seat not more than 700-800 people. When we attended the event, we found all the front rows were occupied by government officials or political leaders and many of the industrialists or their representatives had to keep standing. Modi ji too must have observed this anomaly, as was proved later. When the next summit was held, at a much grander scale this time, and rechristened as Vibrant Gujarat Summit, things were completely restructured under Modi ji’s guidance. All the lacunae of the first summit were weeded out efficiently and there was no room left for any grudge or complaint from any quarter. One of the trademarks of Modi’s way of working is to innovate and make his initiatives truly world-class. He made it a point to choose a larger space this time where there would be proper seating arrangements. He made it clear to the officials that it was an industry function rather than a government event and preference must be given to industrialists. He also suggested adding components to impress foreign delegates according to their preferences so that they found the right indices to invest in the state. Hence, the second Vibrant Gujarat had a lot of structured programmes and after that, this continued during the succeeding summits. As a result, Vibrant Gujarat has today reached unprecedented heights.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY SHASHIKANT SHARMA

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