New Delhi: India Inc on Thursday was impressed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's maiden interaction with corporate leaders saying he came across as a sincere leader and this can form the basis for future engagement with the industry.
"It was a very good speech. His ideas are brilliant. Industry has to see how it can work with the government. We should work in unison for greater progress," said Adi Godrej, president of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which hosted the conference.
In his speech at the CII annual conference, Gandhi spoke about his vision of empowering women and giving voice to the people of billion-strong nation. During his interaction, he said that questions of his becoming Prime Minister and getting married were just irrelevant.
According to CII president-designate S Gopalakrishnan: "This is his first engagement with the business community and he met the industry's expectation. It was a very good interaction. It sets the tone for future interaction. He spoke very broadly about various issues. I see this as a better collaboration between industry and government."
Veteran industrialist and a Congress critic, Rahul Bajaj said, "People say he doesn't have any experience and he has not spoken to people. I'm impressed on his frankness and his frankness of ideas. He talked about the work of MPs and MLAs. He rightly said that a team needs a good leader for doing things right."
On Gandhi becoming Prime Minister, Bajaj said, "I support the one who will be good democratic leader rather than someone who is very dictatorial."
Gandhi's comments, however, did not cut ice with some business leaders who said the Congress leader talked about the problems without coming out with any solution.
Commenting on Gandhi's speech, former Infosys director T V Mohandas Pai said, "He spoke from the heart on may challenges ...But (what) I would like from him is a solution."
Sam Pitroda, adviser to Prime Minister, also said, "I liked it. I think he spoke from his heart. He talked about inclusive growth and collaboration. I have worked with him. We have a very long relationship with Rajiv Gandhi and the family, and with Congress party."
Bosch Managing Director V K Viswanathan said: "He came across with a very genuine and sincere speech, which was full of passion. He spoke from heart about his vision and passion for policies. He doesn't seem to be a politician but a leader who believes to take everyone on board in a harmonious way, rather than in a disruptive way."
Speaking on similar lines, vice chairman and managing director of JK Tyre & Industries Raghupati Singhania said "it was sincere and was direct from heart."
According to another industrialist Sanjiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Finserv: "It was very refreshing. He spoke for the first time with industry people and he did a superb job."
"He is already a national leader. He already said that he would like to talk about people of India rather that talking about himself."
Fortis Healthcare Executive Chairman Malvinder Mohan Singh too said, "he spoke from heart. It was full of conviction and belief. He knows the reality and he is working very hard to take the things in the right direction."
Gandhi, he added, "clearly reflects of a strong leader, who has a vision, plan and is working towards implementing it. He spoke about inclusivity."
CREDAI Chairman Lalit Kumar Jain said: "He spoke about out the hurdles put by a clogged system that impede growth...We are sure this kind of paradigm shift in the thinking will result in a positive change for the betterment of the nation as a whole."
Minister for Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises Praful Patel said: "He (Rahul Gandhi) is an important leader and his views should reach the people of India and I welcome those views."
He added that Gandhi's views have been "put forward by him and it is important that the leaders of our country speak out their minds because ultimately the people like to hear what they say and its a good thing that he spoke at a platform."
Patel said, "The economy of our country has a lot to do with political leadership we provide and the direction we provide."
First Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 16:18