Here's a selection of initial reactions to Rahul Gandhi's maiden address to industry leaders at the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) conference in New Delhi today:
- Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP spokesperson: "We hoped that he would speak on corruption and inflation, but he has disappointed the nation. Rahul spoke about giving powers to 'pradhan' but not giving power to 'pradhan mantri' (Prime Minister)."
- Prakash Javadekar, BJP spokesperson: "Rahul's speech reflected that he lives in his own world. He was meant to answer what has happened in the nine years (of UPA rule) but there was no mention of corruption or inflation. Instead of answering questions, he was asking questions. It is a tacit admission that nothing has been done. It was clear that there was Modiphobia, and Rahul Gandhi was in a confused state of mind."
- Yashwant Sinha, senior BJP leader: "I heard the speech. I was perplexed. It was relevant only in parts. Who was he targeting when he was criticizing the present system? We were there for only six years? He had nothing to offer on the present problems...It is very unfair if I compare him to Narendra Modi. There is no comparison...My impression of Indian industry is they stand up and applause even if you abuse them. They are dependent on the government for favour. Rahul Gandhi is the guiding force behind this government."
- Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel: "It was an outstanding speech... a level 5 speech. He understood importance of technology and inclusion... gives us hope as future leader."
- Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group: He was very clear. He was invited here to speak about his views on the future of the country, his views on the long term, and not about economy. We've invited the Prime Minister, we've invited Cabinet minister, we've invited Secretaries to the government and many other people, say state chief ministers for their views on the economy. But Rahul Gandhi was requested to address the plenary session on his general views which he did in a superb manner. And I think it was very well accepted by the audience.
- Praful Patel, NCP leader: Well, I am happy that he spoke to CII and addressed Indian Industry and business. It's important in our country where the economy has to move and it's very important for our future well-being that Indian industry and Indian entrepreneurship thrives because ultimately what is going to solve the problems of India is strong robust economy and as leader of the largest political party of the country, it's important that his views are known to the people of the country. And I am not into the politics of what he meant vis-a-vis other political parties but as a substance and somebody who is having sound background of business myself, I don't think that he spoke well.
- Rahul Bajaj, industrialist: I didn't know what to expect so I was not disappointed. The huge hall was full and he captivated all of them. But that doesn't mean they all agreed. I don't think he limited himself to deficit or inflation. He isn't in the government, that isn't his job. He is concerned about the people. He talked of harmony, compassion and working together. His body language was informal and his speech was also extempore. Most of the people present there didn't know him, most of them hadn't heard him. This guy doesn't talk. I don't know whether he can remove poverty in 5-7 years that would be a valid question to ask.