Ahmedabad: The show-stopper may have been Anil Ambani's shout-out to his brother during a speech where the younger Ambani promised Gujarat an investment of Rs 50,000 crore on power and cement projects by 2018. "Today I stand amidst some of the biggest wealth creators including respected Ratan Tata and my respected elder brother Mukesh Ambani," said Anil. (Read: Anil greets Mukesh, draws applause)
He wasn't exaggerating. The billionaires of India Inc surrounded Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his Vibrant Gujarat summit. Among them: Ratan Tata, Anand Mahendra, Ajit Gulabchand, Gautam Adani and the Ambanis. And they are showering the state with money. And praise.
"In its golden jubilee year, Gujarat is shining like a land of gold under the effective, visionary and passionate Chief Minister Narendra Modi," said Mukesh Ambani.
"In the first few hours of the summit, the speakers have already pledged around $50 billion," said the Chief Minister today.
The investment forum was created by Modi in 2003 to attract investments for the state and is held once every two years. Its massive success has made Modi secure enough to facilitate, for the first time, business alliances between other Indian states.
At the last Vibrant Gujarat session in 2009, Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) worth Rs 12 lakh crore were signed, allowing Modi to be viewed through the prism of a potential prime minister. "Imagine the possibility of India if Narendrabhai becomes its next leader?" Anil Ambani had asked then.
In the Lok Sabha elections soon after, he delivered 15 of 26 seats for his party - pushing the BJP's tally up by just one. And the recent dazzling victory of the BJP-Nitish alliance in Bihar - where Nitish Kumar banned Modi from campaigning in the state - has taken some of the sheen off.
But Modi still has India Inc's vote as a man who delivers. And that's a hefty vote.