Gujarat projects inclusive model at summit

Gujarat projects inclusive model at summit

In one more attempt to dispel the anti-Muslim image that persists after his government’s alleged involvement in the post-Godhra riots, the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government has come forward to sponsor a three-day business harmony summit organised by an Ahmedabad-based Muslim organisation. 

The state government’s industrial arm, The INDEXTb, and the Industrial Development Corporation have been rushing to support the three-day expo, strategically taglined: Businees Harmony_To Grow Together.

Inaugurating the event, put together by the socio-economic organisation UMMAT that has encouraged several Muslim-owned businesses in Ahmedabad and housing dealers from Dubai to participate, Modi said: “Muslim children and women are blessed with immense talent. This talent needs to be harnessed.” Assuring that the government would provide all support for the minorities to succeed, the BJP prime ministerial candidate cited the example of Ismail Sheru, a farmer from Gujarat’s arid Banaskantha to say that even illiterate Muslims could become successful entrepreneurs if given  support and guidance. 

Modi’s citing of the Muslim farmer follows his reference to Jassuben Pizza at a women’s conclave early last year to connect with Muslim voters, who would decide his party’s fate in several constituencies across the country. 

Representatives of 80 companies are taking part in the exhibition, 60 per cent of which have been Muslim-owned. Organisers said this was an attempt to bring business representatives from both Hindu and Muslim communities on a single platform. 

“We realised business harmony as an untapped opportunity,” said Ali Hassan, one of the organisers. “We did surveys that showed gaps between the business communities. That is why we came up with the concept of business harmony and the message let’s move together.”

Participants said the conclave would open up several new avenues of business for the Muslims and help them come together with the Hindus. 

Only footfalls and the actual business taking place here could decide the conclave’s success in terms of getting the message of harmony out to the public, which will also decide to what extent people are prepared to buy Modi’s development model that projects Muslims and Hindus as two wings of growth.

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