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MUMBAI’S SECULAR IMAGE HIT HARD AS FOREIGN INVESTMENT DRIFT AWAY TO OTHER CITIES

mumbai-sena-7Shiv Sena may continue to deploy strategies to reorganize its demoralized cadre and rediscovering its tested formula of gaining ground through hawkish anti-Pakistan and pro-Marathi cause, but Mumbai’s image is suffering from it. And it won’t be long before India Inc loses its patience over Raj-Shiv Sena style of politics that may hamper foreign investment in Mumbai city. Even before Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi boarded Mumbai’s local trains to snub the Sena’s protest call, the Thackerays were cornered by its sister outfits like RSS and BJP, announcing in no ambiguous terms that Mumbai belongs not just to Marathis, but to every Indian. But sustained political disturbances in India’s financial hub may not go well in the minds of international investors who are betting high on India, thanks to its high growth projection. Also, Mumbai is betting on creating an international financial centre, giving competition to Singapore and Dubai. Yet this latest spurt of Senaism, or more precisely the response against it, may help Mumbai come clean on many issues. If RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani’s open remark that Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi belong to all Indians, is any indication, India Inc is increasingly losing patience with Raj-Shiv Sena’s art of politics. After all, corporate India which needs a stable, vibrant and more importantly a cosmopolitan Mumbai may not keep mum on Sena’s overtures as sustained silence would lead to a bad PR for the city, which could eventually hit their top-line hard. On the other hand, the Congress delivered the message even more effectively. Rahul Gandhi’s response to Sena’s threat by boarding on local trains established a chord with all constituents ranging from youth, migrants, intellectuals and business honchos. And the journey has revived hopes of projecting Mumbai as a cosmopolitan city for global constituents too. With bureau inputs Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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