‘The impression is that political situation in different states is not conducive to promotion of investment’.

 

New Delhi: While addressing the nation on 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said “major global firms are looking at India as a major investment destination, which is reflected by a robust inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) last financial year, and through ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (self-reliant India initiative), the country is shifting its focus from ‘Make in India’ to ‘Make for world’. So, the Prime Minister shared with the country what the priorities of his government are over the next few years. But the states plunging into political instability at one point of time or the other does not augur well for the PM’s ambitious mission.

Many states in the past saw elected governments falling prey to political conspiracies. The Rajasthan crisis is the latest one in the list. But the government in the desert state could, somehow, be brought back to safety from the verge of a fall. But political uncertainty plagued the state for over a month, with a wrong message going out to potential investors. Like other states like MP, Karnataka, BJP came in for a criticism for allegedly being behind what caused the political turmoil in Rajasthan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directly blamed the saffron outfit for hobnobbing with Congress rebels to topple his government in Jaipur.

Be that as it may, the entire episode created a wrong impression about the state in particular and the whole country in general. With the blame directly on BJP, which is the ruling party at the Centre, the impression was that the political situation in different states is not apparently conducive to promotion of investment either from abroad or from Indian entrepreneurs themselves. Will such a scenario not queer the pitch for the “Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” which is PM Modi’s ambitious dream? The BJP is considered to be more answerable on this. The Rajasthan episode has given the BJP an opportunity to sit and reflect over what far-reaching implications its political expediency can have vis-à-vis translating PM’s plans of “Atmanirbhar”, “Vocal for Local”, “Make in India to Make for World” into a reality. Does all that happened in Rajasthan and before it in many other states bode well for these missions? With Jharkahand and Mahrashtra staring at what happened in MP, Karnataka or Rajasthan, this issue assumes more significance, and the political parties, including BJP, need to analyse in the right perspective.

Economists believe that political instability is always counterproductive for efforts to create the right environment for investments and industrilisation. The Centre may have a stable government in place, but the states have to have the same dispensations as investments have to be made in the states. Prospective investors always analyse the political situation of the state where they are planning to put money.

For instance, Rajasthan is a hub as far as economic activities are concerned. The state is known for tourism, manufacturing, trading, mining and what not. Ashok Gehlot has been making efforts to woo investors for the desert state which has immense opportunities for financial growth. But the recent political storm has definitely dented its image. With the help of Congress’ “aggrieved” MLAs, the saffron party allegedly made all possible efforts to create a situation leading to fall of the Gehlot government. But Ashok Gehlot, by virtue of his political wisdom, sailed through the crisis. At one point of time, BJP looked to be heading towards split. The absence of its four MLAs during trust vote proved this also. On this, BJP went on the backfoot putting at rest all its efforts to see the government’s fall. What message did it all give out to those seeking to invest in Rajasthan?

Talking to The Sunday Guardian, a veteran Member of Parliament (MP) said that after the pandemic, the entire world is looking towards India from the point of view of investment. “But attempts to topple elected governments will send out a wrong message. Besides, investors will definitely see whether executive, legislature and judiciary of the country are working objectively,” he added. He said that the political drama lasting 34 days in Rajasthan did bring these pillars of democracy under question. “The PM wants India to prosper in a manner that it become self-reliant. Then why such acts which are detrimental to that cause? Why are there attempts being made to destabilise the state governments, thereby forcing investors to question the objectivity of judiciary, executive, etc.?”