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Corporate India welcomes Congress victory

May 13, 2004 19:26 IST

The victory of Congress and allies and the likely change in guard at the Centre is being welcomed by corporates, who expect a stabilisation in the industry, and said that India under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi would make rapid strides into the future.

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Rahul Bajaj, chairman of the Bajaj Group, told PTI from Pune that the election results were a big surprise but corporates were equally "comfortable" with a government led by the Congress and its allies.

"We would have expressed concern if a third front forms a government with Congress support from outside," he said. 

Asked if the reform process would continue, he said, "I don't see any reverses in the economic reforms if there is a new government either under Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh, who initiated the reforms in 1991.

Bajaj, who personally congratulated Sonia Gandhi and NCP President Sharad Pawar and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and others, said he would be happy if Pawar joins the cabinet along with former Finance Minister P Chidamabaram.

The industrialist, however, expressed concern that labour reforms might suffer if the leftists join the government.

Bajaj, who had financially contributed to both the leading combines, said three areas need to be watched --  labour policies, privatisation of profit making companies and foreign direct investment in certain sectors.

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd Chairman Adi Godrej said it was good for the country that Congress was likely to form a stable government.

He said though the alliances may lead to some reforms slowing down, there should be no problems for foreign investment in the country and the markets have also reacted positively.

Essar Group Chairman Shashi Ruia said that reform processs should continue and nothing should be done to reverse the economic progress if the country has to be recognised as an economic force in the world.

According to DSP Merrill Lynch Vice-President Andrew Holland the victory of Congress is a positive note to the markets, which is expected to witness "stability".

However, going forward, foreign investors would weigh their decision on the key cabinet positions and on the direction that the ruling parties would take, he said.

Venugopal N Dhoot, chairman of white goods and electronics major Videocon, was of opinion that Sonia Gandhi followed the "principles of Mahatma Gandhi, which people liked and voted for her".

"She would be best prime minister and her policies would definitely be liberal and pro-industry," he said, adding that the corporates were happy to have Congress back in power.

I am happy that the Communist party is also supporting her. Our biggest electronic unit is in Kolkata and they (Communist party) have been extending great support, Dhoot added.

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