New Delhi: With the elections coming up, corporate India is keenly watching the developments in the political battlefield. The two political formations headed by the Congress and the BJP are in tatters. The Third Front is in its formative stage. Now there is even a talk of a fourth front. But new permutations and combinations don’t seem to worry companies, who view them as an essential part of the political process. A case in point is the future of economic reforms. “Sometimes parties take a position in campaigning, they do that obviously because they have to appeal to their constituents. But when the government gets formed then they get down to dealing with real issues on the ground. When you have to deal with real issues, there aren’t too many divergent options,” Harsh Pati Singhania, president, FICCI said.
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With the fragmentation of political parties, many new regional and sub-regional outfits have emerged in the run up to the elections. A party like the BSP has even come out with a manifesto outlining its policies. The Left is clearly against liberalized reforms and would like to see more emphasis placed on the public sector. But this again is not a matter of concern for corporate leaders. K.V. Kamath, president, CII and chairman of the country’s largest private bank, ICICI, says: “This is also a part of democracy. We can’t run away from that. Corporates will have to engage and learn to deal with them”. Though at the same time, he believes that progress has been made continuously even in the last decade or more, when there have been changes in government. This time it’s different though. The economic crisis has created a huge space for populist policies, and that could create some bit of trouble.
Industrialists have of late been interacting more with the regional parties as a lot of business is coming up at the state level. They believe that the experience gained would be of help if the equation at the center changes.