Modi targets Cong in Ambani-Adani twist | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Modi targets Cong in Ambani-Adani twist

By, Hyderabad
May 09, 2024 06:04 AM IST

This is the first time in this general elections campaign that the PM has publicly named Ambani and Adani, a reference to Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, two of India’s richest industrialists

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Congress of receiving bags full of black money from “Ambani and Adani” and alleged that the opposition party stopped attacking the top industrialists after receiving illegal cash in what were striking comments coming in the middle of a heated general election

Modi’s remarks, made at a rally in Telangana, is a twist on the conventional political narrative, (ANI)
Modi’s remarks, made at a rally in Telangana, is a twist on the conventional political narrative, (ANI)

Modi’s remarks, made at a rally in Telangana, is a twist on the conventional political narrative because the Congress, especially senior leader Rahul Gandhi, has repeatedly accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of being hand-in-glove with the Ambani and Adani groups. Gandhi on Wednesday mocked Modi’s comments and asked him to order a federal investigation against the firms.

This is the first time in this general elections campaign that the PM has publicly named Ambani and Adani, a reference to Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, two of India’s richest industrialists who run vast conglomerates spanning several sectors.

“Since his Rafale issue got grounded, he started chanting about ‘five industrialists’. Then he started saying Ambani-Adani. But ever since elections have been announced, these people (Congress) have stopped abusing Ambani-Adani. I want to ask from Telangana soil, let the shehzada announce, how much has been lifted from Ambani-Adani? Has tempo loads of money reached the Congress?” Modi said, referring to Gandhi as prince.

“What deal has been arrived at, that abusing Ambani-Adani has stopped overnight? Certainly something is fishy.”

Over the last few years, Gandhi has repeatedly accused the BJP of crony capitalism and said that it was providing undue benefits to some industrialists -- charges the ruling party has denied. But on Wednesday, Modi sought to flip the narrative.

“For five years, (they) abused Adani-Ambani and it stopped overnight. It means you have received some tempo loads of ‘chori ka maal’ (loot)...Kaale dhan ki kitni boriya bharkar ke rupaye maare hai (how many sacks of black money you have taken) You have to answer the nation,” he said at Vemulawada in the Karimnagar parliamentary constituency in Telangana .

Representatives of the two conglomerates didn’t immediately respond to requests for a comment.

Hours later, Gandhi dared Modi to initiate investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate against “Ambani and Adani” and questioned if Modi was scared.

In a video released by the Congress, Gandhi, sitting in front of a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, said, “Usually you talk about Ambani and Adani behind the doors. Today, for the first time you mentioned Ambani and Adani publicly. What happened? Are you scared? Do one thing. You initiate a CBI and ED enquiry against them as soon as possible.”

He added: “The country knows who is the driver and helper of the BJP’s tempo of corruption.”

The Congress also launched a fierce counter-attack with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra charging that the BJP ahd a nexus with industrialists and the entire BJP machinery was engaged in spreading “lies” about Rahul Gandhi.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that Modi’s chair was “shaking” after three phases of the Lok Sabha polls as he started attacking his own “friends”.

“The times are changing. Dost dost na raha...! (Friends are no longer friends…!) After the completion of three phases of elections, today the Prime Minister has started attacking his own friends. It is becoming clear that Modiji’s chair is shaking. This is the real trend of the results,” Kharge said in a post in Hindi on X.

The Congress’s allegations of crony capitalism against the BJP are old, but peaked last year after American short-seller Hindenberg Research alleged ‘brazen accounting fraud’ and ‘stock manipulation’ by the Gautam Adani-led group in a report. Adani Enterprises rejected the report as “unresearched” and “maliciously mischievous”.

The report triggered a massive row, with the Opposition targeting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over alleged links between Modi, and his government, and Adani Group. It also triggered a massive, but temporary, rout of Adani stocks and market value.

Several Opposition parties then disrupted the budget session of Parliament with a demand for a joint parliamentary probe, and held several protests in Delhi. At the time, the government distanced itself from the allegations and dismissed the Opposition’s demand, saying that the Congress was attempting to derail parliamentary proceedings. The row even reached the Supreme Court, which in January upheld a probe by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

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