Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 4 (ANI): The 'Times Now Karnataka NOW Conclave 2018' held here today saw the coming together of India's most influential business leaders and political helmsmen including Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah, Amit Shah, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Kiran M Shaw, Chetan Bhagat, Krishnakumar Natarajan, Ganesh Krishnan, Siddharth Menda, Malavika Avinash amongst others.
They addressed the audience on government initiatives, policy reforms, state economy, growth opportunities, science and innovation through a series of panel discussions and deliberations.
Themed, 'Seize the Moment', the conclave some of India's most eminent speakers and dignitaries providing insights on what steps Karnataka must take to adapt new social and political order to further secure its legacy built on innovation and enterprise.
India's top minds like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Mindtree co-founder Krishna Kumar Natarajan, Ganesh Krishnan of growth Story and Co-Works founder Sidharth Menda deliberated on what it will take to push Bengaluru to become the world's first name for innovation in the panel session titled 'Back office to global innovator. What will it take?' moderated by Chetan Bhagat.
Political heavyweights like Union Minister Prakash Javdekar, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Prakash Raj debated issues around the question whether this election is more about Kannada pride rather than about development and discuss issues that plague the Silicon City and how it can evolve to become a city of the future through a series of discussions.
M K Anand, MD & CEO, Times Network, said, "Shaping opinions and insights to build an informed nation is key to the democratic process. Times Network goes beyond just seeing through the narrative and actively facilitates platforms for participants to interact and improve understanding. 'Karnataka NOW - Seize the Moment' on TIMES NOW has been designed with the objective of addressing pertinent issues such as Government Initiatives, Policy Reforms, Business Growth and Innovation."
Chief Minister Siddaramiah took time off from the hurly burly of election campaigning and laid out a roster of his government's achievements and took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rhetoric as "political drama and gimmicks".
"We will get a clear majority and form the government on our own. The government of Karnataka has fulfilled all the 165 promises made in the Congress manifesto. Our schemes such as Annabhagya, Krishibhagya and Khseerabhagya are first of their kind in India. In 31 key development parameters, Karnataka is the Number 1," said Siddaramiah.
He claimed that he had given the Karnataka state a "scamless" government that will be voted back despite the tacit understanding between the BJP and JD(S).
Countering PM Modi's election time attack on his government, Siddaramaiah asked: "What is Narendra Modi's achievements. What has he done for Karnataka? If he is indeed a Kannadiga, as he now claims to be, why has he not approved the Karnataka's state flag and song? After two successive droughts, we asked for a loan waiver. Nothing came out. What has he done on the Mahadayi issue? Let him share what he has really done. Modi is all big talk and zero achievements."
On the issue of corruption, Siddaramaiah asked how the BJP could accuse him when B.S. Yeddyurappa was standing next to Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. "The looters of the state have all come together to grab power. Yeddyurappa has gone to jail for corruption and is out on bail. None of my ministers are on bail," he said.
Speaking at the 'Back Office to Global Innovator. What will it take?' session, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said, "There is a wave of change in Karnataka. The BJP is committed to making Bengaluru a more livable city and build its status as a centre of innovation".
He told the audience that he had personally approved the Rs. 17,000 crore Bengaluru suburban railways project as soon as he took office, which will benefit 1.5 million commuters.
"Those who oppose development projects like the Bullet Train can't solve Bengaluru's infrastructure problems. The 28 assembly seats in Bengaluru city and the nine seats in Bengaluru are extremely important for the BJP. I'm confident we will sweep those seats and prevent Bengaluru from Bengaluru-ed by Congress and JD(s). The double engine of BJP governments at the centre and in Karnataka will propel the state in the path of development," asserted Goyal.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Ltd., said, "What differentiated Bengaluru from other cities in India is the fact that it was built using intellectual capital rather than money power. It was built on a strong foundation of science and technology. Every successive government invested in engineering education and the promotion of IT and BT sectors. But what has not kept pace with the exponential growth brought in by intellectual capital is the physical infrastructure". (ANI)