Business leaders hope for a poll outcome that places issues over individuals

Tamil Nadu is voting for 38 Lok Sabha seats (General Elections 2019) and 18 Legislative Assembly constituencies in the by-elections on Thursday

By E Kumar Sharma  
Thursday, April 18, 2019

The business community in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka hopes that the outcome of General Election 2019 will be a break from the past and will not be individual-based but issue-driven.

A Vellayan, business leader and member of the Murugappa family feels that the work is cut out for the government, which comes to power. "Tamil Nadu was at the forefront of industrial development but somewhere along the way our competitiveness was eroded,'' he says."If the government that comes to power addresses three key issues - power availability, more focus on governance and consistency in policies that are supportive of the industry - then the industry can pretty much take care of itself.'' Tamil Nadu is voting for 38 Lok Sabha seats (General Elections 2019) and 18 Legislative Assembly constituencies in the by-elections on Thursday. The remaining 4 of the 22 vacant assembly seats will vote on May 19.

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Other business leaders in the state are hoping that the absence of powerful leaders such as J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi does not result in a hung assembly as that may not augur well for policy-making.

As a business leader in Chennai puts it, "The big worry today is really the formation of an unstable coalition as that will lead to instability.''

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director, Biocon expects that every Member of Parliament (MP), who is voted for in this election is held accountable for his or her constituency. She says that identifying the local issues, therefore, becomes important and then demanding that the MPs and MLAs (Member of Legislative Assembly) deliver on the local demands. For instance, in Karnataka some of the main issues are water, jobs and infrastructure.

Shaw opines that this election is about the haves and the have-nots. "It is the have-nots who will determine the outcome because, they are the ones who do not have a job, income, food, home or any means to ensure sustenance. All of these will matter in this election," she says. Consider Bangalore Rural Constituency, she says, the issues there are about poor roads, better drainage, sewerage, sanitation and drying up of water bodies.

Dr B S Ajaikumar, chairman and CEO, HealthCare Global, raises the issue of financial distribution. According to Ajaikumar, Karnataka is one of the highest taxpayers to the centre and therefore the hope is that money will also come back to the state for its growth.

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