New Delhi: Opposition party members led by the Congress on Wednesday demanded a march from Parliament to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) headquarters to lodge a ‘complaint’ against the Adani Group and its alleged fraudulent activities.
This was the third consecutive day of protests since the start of the second session of the budget session – when the party went full force against the alleged ‘Adani-Modi nexus’.
The Delhi Police did not allow MPs from the Congress and at least 16 other parties to go out of the Parliament area.
In the last session, the Congress’s attack against industrialist Gautam Adani was based on the findings of US-based research firm Hindenburg. This session, however, is also being seen as the Congress’s response to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) apology to its leader Rahul Gandhi for the “democracy-at-risk” remark made in the UK.
The Congress’s continued focus on Adani has led many to ask whether it is ‘chowkidar chor hai’ and the Rafale scam that proved electorally disastrous for the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
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However, Gandhi and the party leadership believe that the issue of Adani is different. ThePrint spoke to several Congress leaders, including MPs, and said there are three reasons for this belief.
First, the party feels that unlike Rafale, which was just a scam or deal, the Adani issue could be the beginning of many more such allegations that could take away from the “infallible” glorification around Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Second, the party believes that its campaign will divide the corporate world into sections and once they are convinced that the Adani group is being unfairly supported by the government, others will be left to fend for themselves.
Third, the party is also using the Adani issue to target small businessmen, whom they are trying to lure by saying that the BJP is destroying small businesses. And if small businesses are suffering and only one man’s business is getting better, then it is sure to have an electoral impact.
Speaking to ThePrint, Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said the message is working to a large extent.
He said, “I believe that most people would believe that what Adani did, he would not have been able to do without the involvement of the PM. Will it give electoral advantage? It depends on our party organization.
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Will the Congress strategy work?
However, the first question is whether Adani can ‘stick’ as a corruption issue, as the allegations of share price manipulation etc. are difficult to understand for the common man. For example, it is much more difficult to understand than the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scam that helped topple the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2014. Congress leaders believe that it will work here too.
A source working on the party’s strategy keeping in mind the 2024 elections said, “In Adani’s case we have data and easy statistics that show how his ranking among the world’s richest people has moved from second to 609.
The source further said: “You can argue that Rafale was difficult to understand and CWG (scam) was easy to understand. But at that time the election issue of BJP was not only CWG. There was also 2G. It was a set of events that linked the Congress to corruption. Rafale was a deal and we went with it. Here, the Adani scam may not be a complete election issue, but it may pave the way for other such issues to come to the fore – in the meantime other skeletons will also be ready to come out of the closet – then we will tell how exactly. Suit boot ki sarkar’.
The second question many people are asking is whether the Congress will be able to maintain this narrative against the PM and Adani.
To this, the source cited above said that the scam itself may not be an election issue for 2024, but the party will “milk” it as long as it can.
The source also said, “It is very difficult to talk about a single issue, scam or even a single person for a year. In my understanding, there will be many aspects of this issue which will come up from time to time and each time we will have to capitalize on it. ,
Jairam Ramesh, on the other hand, told ThePrint that as far as Adani is concerned, the electoral gains for the Congress will depend on how the party organizes itself on the issue.
He told, “We have to do what we have to do. We are of course doing our best to uncover the full dimensions of this superscam which has happened with the knowledge and active cooperation of the PM. We have raised three sharp questions daily for 28 days. We have written to SEBI and RBI. We have held press conferences across the country. Whether it will give electoral benefit or not, it will depend on the party organization.
crony capitalism and division
ThePrint spoke to various members of the party organization and MPs, who are agitating in Parliament, to understand where the Congress wants to go with the Adani issue.
A Congress MP, who was present at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi on Monday, said the party was apprehensive about Rahul Gandhi being suspended by the Committee of Privileges on the first day of the new session, but the plan was not discussed in the House on the Adani issue. had to interrupt.
The opposition is not united on the issue of Adani. Some people are demanding JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee). Some are demanding a probe under the supervision of the Supreme Court. Most regional parties, including some of our allies, have made peace with the Adani group and will not move beyond a point. If Rahul’s issue was not raised, then perhaps Adani’s issue would also have gone haywire in this session.
The MP said, “But because he demanded an apology (by Rahul), we have now gone ahead with the Adani case with full force. We are constantly being told that Adani’s links with Modi are obvious, so we must push to ensure that the relationship between the two is remembered. Certainly, ‘Crony Capitalism’ is a very important issue. ,
Sources in Gandhi’s team say that while the thrust is against crony capitalism, the party’s understanding is that it has also waged a “corporate war”. This means that corporate entities that are not ‘liked’ by the government will naturally be opposed to Adani growing so rapidly. The source revealed that the party is planning to woo these corporate entities in its favor to isolate Adani in the corporate ecosystem.
Refusing to reveal the names of the corporates, the source said, “Corporates who are opposing Adani are reaching out to us. More of them will help us so that the preference for Adani stops. ,
It is also interesting to note that while the Congress and Rahul Gandhi’s fight against alleged crony capitalism began with Adani-Ambani jibes, it has focused entirely on Adani since the release of the Hindenburg Report.
Adani is being linked to LIC, small businessmen are also being targeted.
One of the first attempts by the party to connect the Adani issue to the grassroots level was to point out the investments made by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and State Bank of India (SBI) in these groups.
A Congress MP, who was part of the protest in the Parliament complex today, said, “Prima facie this is not an issue that people in rural areas would understand.” Therefore, the fact that his money is invested in the Adani Group was important to point out. ,
When his attention was drawn to ThePrint’s report that LIC would, in fact, make a profit of close to Rs 11,000 crore by selling its shares in Adani, the MP said, “It is not about how much LIC gains or loses. Will be But in principle, public money should not be invested in crony capitalists. That is the point we are trying to make.
The source in Rahul Gandhi’s team cited in the copy above also pointed out that the party was trying to win back “small traders” and MSMEs through its campaigns against GST and demonetisation.
Another party source said, “There is a section of small traders who invest in stocks and know how the market works. They will understand this and some of them are also BJP/Modi voters. Since their business is suffering (due to GST, among other things), they will also understand how another businessman is making money due to collusion with the government. Used to be. ,
(Editing: Pooja Mehrotra)
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