Sundeep Bhutoria

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fear makes one a fair-weather friend

There is great demand among the city industrialists to get an entry card to the Belvedere Road meeting with prospective investors being organised by Mamata Banerjee. Those who have not received any invitation were making all efforts through their channels and contacts - from the Writers' to Raisina - to procure an invitation card.
I wonder why there is such a desperation to be there at the meeting. It is because all of them want to set up an industrial project in the state or they just want to show their faces to Mamata Banerjee to countenance a show of solidarity with the new regime. Or is it they are worried by the fact that not being invited would dent their social standing and reputation as top industrialists.
Industrialists are always on the right side of the fence. They are with those who are in power. This is their compulsion given the nature and character of socio economic set up in India. The first impact of parivartan is most visible among the industrialists.
Last Sunday evening, before attending the wedding of Jagmohan Dalmia’s son, I dropped in at The Park to attend the Russian National Day Celebrations. Though the card mentioned the reception time as 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, I dropped in at around 8:15 pm and was surprised to see very few people in the hotel's Banquet.
Apart from one former Chief Secretary, I couldn't spot any other bureaucrats or celebs. There were only a couple of Honorary Consuls with career consuls and of course people from the Russian Mission.
Over the years, the Russian Consulate celebrations have always been much talked about and well attended. I have seen the Honorary Consuls, most of whom are industrialists, attend the Russian celebrations in full strength. I have personally seen on three occasions the Hall packed to its capacity. The unstated reason was that it offered a great opportunity to rub shoulders with the top leaders of the Left who made it a point to attend the Russian Consulate function in full strength. Who'd skip such a chance!
On my way to The Taj BengaI from The Park, I kept wondering whether this low turn out at the function was due to the Parivartan factor or because of the so many other glamorous events in the city.
It is alleged that the industrialists always favour the government in power as they have their businesses to run and can ill afford to be on the wrong side of the fence. Do they have any choice on this?
It is not that their thinking have actually changed. It is the fear of the government in power that make them switch their loyalties overnight. So, there are no permanent loyalties. It is the fear that makes one a fair-weather friend.
One of the greatest challenges for Mamata Banerjee would be to put in place or restore a neutral administration as she has said that she would.
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