Today my article is about Kejriwal taking action against Reliance and targeting Mukesh Ambani on the gas price which Reliance extracts from different basins allotted to it. It is not my intention here to judge the veracity of the allegations Kejriwal has made against Mukesh. There are good arguments on both sides and maybe only an impartial probe would be able to find out the truth. Nor is my intention here to question Kejriwal’s method whether it is fair on his part to make these allegations and if he has requisite authority to order a FIR to be lodged in this particular case. But i would want to raise two important issues that somehow might seem to be on the periphery but in my opinion need to be addressed.
One is the culture of crony capitalism which is how business seems to be done in India. The rules are bent for particular business houses whose proximity to the powers that be is well known . It is this cosy club which Kejriwal seems to be threatening. Whether he is right or not is not the point but the larger issue is the Indian public reads and watches everyday when the high and mighty bend rules to make money.
The second and allied point is the particular anger against the Ambanis. I travel in auto rickshas and when you talk to them they simply loath the Ambanis. That same anger is not against the other big business houses. Why should it be so ? In my opinion it is because of the image they carry. They make a 10000 crore house ( which looks horrendous by the way ) bang in the middle of Mumbai city without a care in the world what people think of them . Well it is their own money and they have a right to spend it the way they wish to. Fair enough and one can’t complain about that. But that is where social responsibility comes in. In a desperately unequal society like India I am sure people who have made it really big owe some responsibility to the society they live in. Mallaya spending crores on cricket players and enjoying himself at cricket matches while his employees who have not been paid for months are agitating is too stark an image to be missed by the Indian public.
It is not my brief here to brief Mr ambani and anyway he is too big to even bother about what anybody thinks about him but one thing I can say is that unless this culture of crony capitalism is reduced if not eliminated from this country the Indian public would not grudge even ostentatious display of wealth by the Ambanis, the Mallyas or any other business house in this country. And secondly if they use some part of their wealth for social benefit they would earn the gratitude , respect and love of the people.
Till that happens whether it is fair or not the fact is the Indian public is angry, not only at the politicians but also at crony capitalists and the corrupt bureaucracy. The Indian public is really angry. Ignore it at it’s own peril.