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Narendra Modi urges Mumbai's businessmen to set up shop in Gujarat

Mumbai: "Come to Gujarat, I am constructing a city, Dholera, that's six times the size of Shanghai and two times the size of Delhi," said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the business community at KC College auditorium on Thursday.

Mr Modi, who was chief guest, was speaking at a programme organised by the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC), which saw a considerable gathering of the city's traders, businessman and others. During the meet, several traders and businessmen informed Mr Modi that they have shut their shops and markets because of the newly imposed local body tax. "Please give us some space in Gujarat, so that we can run our business there and we will make that place like Mumbai," said a beleaguered member of the crowd.

Replying to this, Mr Modi said, "Why do you need some space? We are constructing a city near the seashore and everyone can be accommodated there." This is not the first time that builders and sections of the traders' fraternity have threatened to shift to neighbouring Gujarat. On several occasions earlier, businessmen have been heard saying that conditions in Maharashtra and Mumbai aren't favourable for the conduct of business.

Mr Modi's speech featured the usual theories about Gujarat's as a model for inclusive growth that the rest of the country should adopt. Not once during his interaction did he compare his state with any other in the country. Rather, his allusions were repeatedly to the sad state of affairs at the Centre. He harped on the state of decline at the Centre, in comparison to his own state, which he claimed is on the path of rapid development.



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