Back in 2009 when Radia tapes was cause of outrage at the national level, in one of the tapes Mukesh Ambani allegedly said “Arre Congress to apni dukaan hai (Congress is fully under our control)”.
On the contrary, with Modi government at the helm, India Inc. has avowedly admired removal of corruption at the top level and in a subtle way expressed their displeasure over lack of access to the top echelons of the government (far cry form the previous regime).
It’s kind of surprising that Modi government is still being dubbed as pro rich.
Let us try to examine some of the events and allegations levelled against the government, to ascertain whether there is any substance in it .
PM Modi’s photo appeared on the Reliance Jio print ad
To advertise its 4G services under the brand name Jio, Reliance gave full front page advertisement in major national dailies. Eyebrows were raised because of the picture of PM Modi on it. AAP was quick to pounce on it and alleged that ‘PM is in Ambani’s pocket’. AAPtards (AAP supporters) were not far behind spinning theories on social media about how the alleging any tacit understanding between PM Modi and the Reliance group.
There’s a detailed article on OpIndia.com. It is still not clear though whether PMO granted consent for the use of the Prime Minister’s photo in the commercial or not. It is obvious that Reliance used PM’s pic to piggyback on latter’s popularity, as they have picked up PM’s dream of Digital India and cited it as their inspiration behind launching Jio, Reliance would go scot free, even on account of any lawsuit for unauthorized use of his picture
Now the question is where is it mentioned that PM is endorsing it, as stated by Congress and AAPtards?
Just because PM Modi’s pic is used doesn’t mean he endorses it, just like Bandhan bank using picture of Pranab Mukherjee doesn’t mean President has done modelling for it. NDTV uses PM’s Swachh Bharat in the backdrop to promote ‘Cleanathon’, does it mean PM is promoting NDTV? All state governments applauded Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu for their Rio Olympics success by putting their photos in posters along with other politicians. Does it mean Sakshi, Sindhu endorse politics? Or worse, as somebody claimed in a Facebook post, would the medalists be held responsible for any wrong claims made by those respective political outfits?
Allegations against the government on Ambani-Adani
Allegation 1 – Mukesh Ambani is having a field day since last 2 years
Rebuttal – Modi government imposed fine of 579 mil USD (3500cr) on RIL, can’t think of any such fine being imposed in the past on Reliance group.
Allegation 2 – Modi government gave Gautam Adani undue advantage
Rebuttal – Media spread lies that Government waived 2000cr green fine imposed on Adani group, this lie was immediately quashed by government officials. Its worth remembering that Adani needed 62K cr loan to start production on Australian mine, Modi government could’ve easily arm twisted any PSU bank into lending him like previous governments had done, he didn’t. So much for giving undue advantage to Adanis.
Allegation 3 – Government planned to bludgeon ONGC to death, only to benefit RIL
Rebuttal – ONGC profits have declined in the last 2 years, giving rise to conspiracy theory that ONGC will be made to sink to be turned into sitting duck for predators like Reliance to launch a takeover bid. Any person with even slight understanding of oil industry would understand the difference between producer and refinery. Unfortunately, media and opposition doesn’t. ONGC earns its revenue from exploration of crude oil and natural gas. Prices of crude have seen unprecedented fall globally which resulted in reduced profit of ONGC. Reliance is mainly into refining of crude oil and typically a refiner earns margin which is not in direct correlation with crude prices.
Allegation 4 – Government allowed FDI in Defense to benefit Reliance
Rebuttal – FDI limit was increased in defense to get access to cutting edge technology, incentivize domestic manufacturers to scale up and reduce defense imports (Note-India is the largest arms importers in the world). Quite naturally it is meant to benefit government and Indian companies alike. That said, allegation of media and opposition doesn’t fly as L&T, Mahindra and Bharat Forge have in fact gained much more than Ambanis and Adani.
Other arguments to bust the hypothesis conjured up by Media-AAP-Congress Nexus
Market Capitalisation of Reliance and Adani – The shares of both the groups skyrocketed after Modi government came to power, however there has been massive correction at the bourses for both the stocks.
Adani Group’s market capitalisation on 26th May 2014 was INR 1,17,388 crores. On 26th May 2016, two years of Mr Modi in business, Adani Group’s market capitalisation is down to INR 57,150 crores, a steep fall of 51%
Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance declined by 15% , whereas ADAG saw decline of 43%
Market capitalization is the indication of investor confidence, hence if the investor would have been confident that Modi government would help Ambani- Adani it would have reflected in their stock movement. Has that happened ?? NO
NPAs of Reliance & Adani – Neither Ambani nor Adani group has defaulted on the interest payments against loans. Majority of debts of RIL and Adani predate 2014. Hence there’s no way to pinpoint whether Banks were pressurized to lend to both these entities. (Unlike in the past when banks were forced to lend to Kingfisher even after it became apparent that his Airline was close to bankruptcy)
If a lie is not challenged it assumes a life of its own
PM Modi is perhaps the biggest victim of media’s constant lies and hit jobs. About a year ago news channel carried a report stating that the pinstrip monogrammed suit he wore on the Republic day was worth 10 Lakhs. Media behaved most unprofessionally and in a biased manner in coming up with this number. Only the person who has gifted it or the person who has bought it would know the real price. Certainly media did neither. Yet they spread lie and it gained traction.
BJP didn’t challenge it as vehemently as they should have, nobody questioned Media house what their sources were. Nitin Gadkari clarified in some of his interviews that the cost of suit was just a few thousands, but the objective to paint NDA-2 as the government for the rich was already served.
BJP would do well to realise that in politics, just like in the corporate world, perception matters. It’s ironic that PM Modi is arguably the most articulate speaker in the country, yet communication has become his government’s achilles heel. They would have to improve the communication and work towards preempting below the belt attacks of media and opposition. The more they allege foul play by media and opposition, the more they will be seen as the weak government. Either take action against the media houses spreading lies blatantly or don’t cry foul.