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From Ambanis to Tata, all hail Modi

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Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is used to praise, but on January 11 the accolades came from some of India’s richest businessmen.

“In Narendra bhai, we have a leader with a grand vision... Gujarat has been a pioneer state in infrastructure giving it an innate advantage,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairperson of Reliance Industries Ltd., at the start of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar.

The three-day summit, which began here on January 11, sought to woo investors to Gujarat. It was attended by top Indian industrialists, representatives of foreign companies and foreign envoys.

“We began from Gujarat and we come back here again and again to invest. We have committed investment of Rs. 100,000 crore in Gujarat. We will expand our operations in Gujarat in Jamnagar and Hazira,” said Ambani adding that the Reliance is proud to be called a “Gujarati company.”

He also committed further investment of Rs. 500 crore in Pandit Dindayal Upadhayay Petroleum University. His younger brother, Anil Ambani, put Modi in the league of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.

More accolades poured in for Modi, fresh from his triumph in the state assembly elections, with Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group Ratan Tata saying it would be “stupid” not to be in Gujarat, which has an atmosphere conducive for industrial development. Tata group has committed to invest or invested Rs. 34000 crore here, he said.

Tata, whose dream car “Nano” project was forced out of West Bengal and shifted to Sanand in Gujarat, said he hoped the state will continue to be “unique in providing the industry-friendly environment.”

“Today people are talking about China model of development in Gujarat but day is not far when people will talk about Gujarat model of growth in China,” said Anand Mahindra, of the Mahindra and Mahindra group.

UK India Business Council (UKIBC) chair Patricia Hewitt, whose country ended decade-long boycott of the state imposed in the aftermath of 2002 communal riots in October last year, lauded Gujarat for having maintained a near double digit growth rate in the last ten years which was more than that of China.

Ron Sommers, who represented US India Business Council, called Gujarat’s progress “stunning.”

“Progress of Gujarat is stunning. It has set a new benchmark not only in India, but across other countries in the world because Chief Minister Narendra Modi has shown that progress trumps politics. Gujarat has achieved double digit growth because of stability and sustainability,” he said.

Konstantin Markelov, chairperson of the Regional Government of Astrakhan, a province in Russia, congratulated Modi on his electoral success and wished him good luck for “victory at the national level.”

Terming Gujarat as a “good state” to invest, Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej said the salt-to-soap conglomerate has lot of investments in the state and it will continue to do so in the coming days.