Jat agitation a threat to investors' summit preparations

Jat agitation a threat to investors' summit preparations
With Jats in Haryana upping the ante renewing their old quota demand, the state government is facing an uphill task to carry on with its preparation works for the upcoming mega investor summit scheduled to be held two weeks later in Gurgaon.

The agitation, which has been flared up in the last two days, is posing a major challenge for the BJP government in Haryana to make the investors' summit a big success.

Days before the Jats started their protest, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had been holding roadshows in various cities of the country including Mumbai and Chennai, seeking investments for his state.

The state government had in recent days been making efforts to make the forthcoming "Happening Haryana Global Investors Summit-2016" scheduled for March 7-9 in Gurgaon, a grand success.

However, the Jat quota stir came at a wrong time for the Khattar government which was going full steam to prepare for the first investors' summit and "Pravasi Haryana Divas" (on March 9) to woo domestic and international industrial investors.

Chief Minister Khattar along with Finance Minister Capt Abhimanyu and senior officials had already undertaken two foreign trips -- the first to the US and Canada in August last year and the second one recently to Japan and China -- to attract investors. Besides, the state government has also held roadshows in five metros in the country.

Notably, the current Jat agitation is the second major untoward event which has put the state government in a tight spot.

The BJP government came to power in Haryana in October 2014. Immediately after taking oath as the Chief Minister, Khattar had to face the 'godman' Rampal issue.

Opposition Congress had then even taken a dig at the government over its alleged inept handling of the Rampal issue, claiming that CM Khattar had failed to handle it as he was a person with no experience in administration and public life.

In November 2014, there had been violent clashes at the Satlok ashram of the self-styled godman in Haryana and thousands of Rampal's followers had to be evacuated from his Ashram, before police finally arrested him. The incident had also caused a few casualties and left hundreds injured.

Former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda while commenting on present Jat agitation, said it was not the right time to indulge in political speak over the handling of the Jat issue by the present government, "yet it is true that the situation has been allowed to come to such a pass because the BJP leaders had made tall promises to the Jat community before coming to power".

"Even when they came to power, various leaders of the BJP have been speaking in different tones, which complicated things. At the same time, I want to make it clear that Congress strongly condemns any act of violence and we appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony," he said.

"There may be an adverse impact on new investments in Haryana in the wake of ongoing Jat stir," said Sher Singh Sangwan, Professor at Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh.

"The Jat agitation will also impact the image of the state if it prolongs,' he further said while adding, "the government should act fast to end the stir".

Industry experts said new investors would not like to make fresh investment in the state which is facing lawlessness and violent protest in the wake of Jat stir.

This is the first investors summit organised by the Khattar government in the state. Khattar government had even launched a new industrial policy to attract fresh investments in the state.

Haryana is seeking investments in several fields including agro-based industry, electronics, footwear accessory, renewable energy, solar parks, auto, auto parts, defence, aerospace, pharma, textile etc.

Khattar has even held roadshows in states such as Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai to invite investors to make investments in the state.
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