ADANI AND POLLS

The Congress leadership is miffed that the ruling BJP is stonewalling it both inside and outside Parliament when the opposition seeks to raise the issue of an “Adani stranglehold” over the nation. The issue has acquired a new vehemence and seriousness after the US-based Hindenburg, with some startling findings, sought to break the bottom out of Gautam Adani’s vastly spread business empire. Adani’s survival instincts are strong and so is the backing he gets from the Modi-led government. Together, this might help the group overcome the present hit, which it got obviously below the belt. An attempt by the Congress to take out a march to the Enforcement Directorate office with a petition to investigate the alleged rule violations by the top-run business firm was thwarted by the security forces in Delhi on Thursday. Efforts by the party MPs to raise the matter in Parliament too were repeatedly being drowned in shouts from the ruling benches.

A petition from the Opposition by itself will not be sufficient for a central agency to invest seriousness into the investigations of complaints against close chums of the government. This was so even during the UPA terms.  Mukesh Ambani once said, famously, that the Congress party was his “dookan” –meaning, he could pay and purchase favours. CBI and ED do not have a mind of their own. The ruling party via the Prime Minister would call much of the shots. More so, when the party and the PM are in strong positions. For the Congress party, however, the “Adani” factor is a goldmine and it looks like the “last resort” or trump card to puncture the high credibility of the Prime Minister and outwit the BJP.

The Modi government had not worked wonders in its two terms, other than in select fields like Kashmir, infra growth etc. Still, public perceptions are that the fate of the nation is safe in the hands of Modi. He took steps like an elephant — slow but steady and affirmative – which gave reassurance to the nation. Even so, if the Adani empire cracks, the devastation it would inflict on the Indian banking system and national economy would be colossal. It’s here that the Opposition smells an opportunity. The BJP edifice at the LS electoral arena banks fully on Modi. A crack to Modi’s image, via Adani, could rupture the very foundations of the saffron party in the run-up to the 2024 polls. Politics is a game of one-upmanship. Ideology is for show. In the cut-throat competition, it is the survival of the fittest. Hence, all eyes now are naturally on Adani.

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