If we follow Mr. Rahul Gandhi, it looks like whatever is happening in India or has happened in India in the last six years is Ambani’s and Adani’s doing. You don’t have to go by my words, you could have look at his twitter timeline or his speeches or his official statements, or whichever way he interacts and I am sure you will reach the same conclusion.
Irrespective of the issue the country faces, as per him it is always Ambani-Adani’s doing. He sees them in Demonetization, in GST; he feels their presence in the parliament when the laws are enacted, when the annual Budget is announced; he sees them during elections, in state elections as well as in general elections; he sees them as the cause of the protests. For him they are the everything and the only thing that exist; the reality of everything. It looks like Ambani and Adani are the only two industrialists, billionaires in India who are growing and are the only beneficiaries of Modi’s new India.
Is it really the case? Are they the only people people who are getting richer in Modi’s new India?
When I look at the reports from several institutions like Credit Suisse, Forbes etc. there is an entirely different picture. As per Hurun Global Rich List, 2020 India added three billionaires every month in 2019 to take the total tally to 138 billionaires in India. Not only the number of billionaires, the number of millionaires is increasing in India at a rate fastest than ever. As per a report by Credit Suisse, India added a whooping 7,300 millionaires during the 12-month period leading to mid-2018, taking the total number of millionaires in India to more than 3 lac millionaires. From 2016 to 2017 there was a 20% growth in the number of millionaires. At the same rate, with the same “ease of doing business” practices taken up by the Modi Government, this number is going to be slightly higher than five lac millionaires by 2023 and more than one million millionaires by 2027. One million millionaires! The numbers I have quoted are based on wealth calculation in US dollars and not in Indian Rupees.
Are these numbers good enough for India? You be the judge, I can provide you with a few numbers from other countries so as to give a proper perspective. China had a total of 799 billionaires in 2018 followed by the USA with 626 billionaires. Overall, the world added 480 billionaires during that year when India added just 34 billionaires. As of today, India stands at the fourth place after the US, China and Germany. When we move on to the number of millionaires, we are at eleventh position. USA as of today already has more than 18 million millionaires, we will touch a million mark in 2027, and that too if this government stays. Germany with a total population of 82 million has 2 million millionaires.
For me personally, I really hate it when people like Shashi Tharoor run to the UN begging for funds “Ohh, we had a flood in Kerala and we need funds, help us!“. Maybe some might like that, but I really don’t, that’s why I hate Kerala’s “poor but still happy” tagline. The simple fact is the number of millionaires and billionaires are simply too less for a huge country like India. In 21st century the entire world including the communist countries like China is going along with its industrialists. And here we are in India where certain people are targeting and haunting large business houses and industrialists for their own individual agendas. Not every industrialist is a thief and not every business succeeds on illegitimate income.
As I said, you be the judge if the numbers are good or bad, but these numbers do suggest one thing, that Ambani and Adani are not the only ones who are doing good in their businesses. They are not the only ones who are getting richer. There are lacs and lacs of others who are increasing their wealth every year and every quarter.
So, why is it that every time only Ambani and Adani are targeted? I have asked this question “Why does Rahul Gandhi targets Ambani, Adani and not others?” to myself a lot of times. So far, I have zeroed on four possible reasons, I would like my readers to mention in the comments, which is most likely.
A) Political Funding:
Contesting an election is costly and winning it even costlier. The way political parties have been raising funds has been changing regularly since independence. Gandhi Family excluding Gandhi Ji (the original one Mr. MK Gandhi) have/had a very shady way of raising political funds. While Gandhi Ji was a staunch supporter of corporate funding and considered it absolutely legal and important for democracy to function, Mrs. Indira Gandhi made it illegal in the sixties, to cut the Swatantra Party’s funding. She invented the concept of “Briefcase Politics” where in, if a businessmen needs a license for something or needs government support, he/she would have to come up with a briefcase full of ___ (fill in the blanks). This continued even after her demise, the economic liberalization made it even worse. This way, the ruling party was having all the fun and the opposition parties were all dry.
Please do read my old article: The Cash Nexus: Criminals and Politics to get more details about “Briefcase Politics.”
Congress in the current times is undergoing one of the worst financial crises, they have made it public time and again. And the ruling party is not making it any easier for them. Mr. Gandhi and his party are trying to do the same thing that Mrs. Indira Gandhi accomplished in her time. Now while the party is in opposition, they are trying to build pressure on the business houses by threating and creating hurdles. They are sending a straightforward signal, “if you don’t start funding us, we will destroy you“. As soon as the biggest fish (Ambani and Adani) succumbs to the pressure, the small fish would surrender in no time and moreover when you get the biggest fish, who needs the smaller ones? This is also one of the biggest reasons why they are against electoral bonds. When Companies use these bonds to fund a political party, Congress cannot know which company is funding which party. They can only know that no body is funding them.
B) Populist Politics:
If you read Pt. Nehru’s discovery of India, you will find him explaining how he was winning elections and why he was called the “vote getter”. He described Indian population in the form of a pyramid, something as shown in the figure on the right (the figure is not from the book, I used it just to explain). The highly intellectual, learned, industrialists, rich form the top of the pyramid i.e. their numbers are very less. However, as you move down, richness decreases so do other things like education level etc. “At the bottom of the pyramid are the people who are the poorest and have nothing; the peasants; they don’t ask questions like the middle class does, the peasants would listen to you with the twinkling eyes“. Not my words, Pt. Nehru’s words.
This is why targeting Ambani make sense, he can be quite wonderfully be used to invoke feelings like jealousy, hatred, envy, injustice. “Look he lives in a 27 stories, state of the art, Antilia. What do you have? Nothing? You are poor only because of him. He is Modi’s friend. Modi is giving everything to him that you deserved. Vote us we will take care of crony capitalists” And as Nehru Ji mentioned, these people won’t ask questions; how? Antilia was not built after 2014, it was built in 2010, the construction started in 2006, Ambani did not become a billionaire after 2014, he has been the richest man in India for consecutively 13 years now. If any of Mr. Gandhi’s allegations were real, he would have gone to the courts and slammed Ambani-Adani right then, but he didn’t and instead he was asked by the Court to apologize for his statements. But again as Nehru Ji mentioned, some people will just believe in his rhetoric with twinkling eyes.
C) Hinduphobic Vote Bank politics:
Why is it that the billionaires like Azim Premji (Wipro) and Yusuf Khwaja Hamied (chairmen of Cipla) are never targeted? They are billionaires too, their wealth is also increasing like Adani and Ambani, but whenever their names appear in media it is about the good causes like charity, donations.
As a matter of fact, India has a mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (section 135 of Companies Act) according to which (excerpt from the act):
“Every company having net worth of rupees five hundred crore or more, or turnover of rupees one thousand crore or more or a net profit of rupees five crore or more during any financial year shall ensure that the company spends, in every financial year, at least two per cent. of the average net profits of the company made during the three immediately preceding financial years, in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy“
So, it is obvious that the mandatory charity done by the company owned by Ambani that posts four times the profit posted by the company owned by Premji, is way more (approx. four times) as per the law. Than why do we hear only good things about Premji and bad things about Ambani? Why is no body willing to acknowledge Ambani’s social contribution? His company has been doing it for years.
Cyrus Poonawalla, another billionaire, founder of Serum Institute of India is a very good example. His wealth increased by a whooping, unbelievable 85% this year, only because of Covid. Just imagine if instead of him, it was Ambani or Adani producing the vaccines and increased their wealth by 85% due to Convid-19 pandemic, what would have Rahul Gandhi and his followers been doing and saying? I guess they would have made you believe that Modi introduced Covid to help his friend and I am pretty sure a lot of Indians would have believed it and would have happily participated in the propaganda. Thank god Covid-19 is international and not just limited to India.
I am not at all insinuating that these people also be haunted, I am simply trying to understand the criteria as to how Ambani and Adani are chosen and not others? I guess this has to do with them being upper caste Hindus (Baniyas). As you might already know, it is a fashion to target upper caste Hindus these days. Thank god, Sundar Pichai (Google) and Satya Nadella (Microsoft) are outside India. If they were in India they would have been the cause of even bigger problems (a Tamil Brahmin and a Telugu Brahmin). By the way Bill Gates and Melinda Gates have become the largest farm land owners (approximately 242,000 acres) in the US. I didn’t see a farmers protest there. Might be possible that the farmers there aren’t as well read as the ones here in India.
D) All of the above. Ambani and Adani checks all the three options I mentioned above.
Thank you for reading! If you liked the article please do share it with your friends and family and ask them the same question:
Why does Rahul Gandhi targets Ambani, Adani and not others? And your options are:
A. To win Political funding
B. Populist Politics
C. Catering to Hindu-phobic vote banks
D. All of the above
Please do mention your opinion/answer in comments. Thanks! Your opinion matters.