Industrialist Gautam Adani on Wednesday said the growth of his business empire could not be linked to any one political leader, refuting charges of benefitting from his ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Adani Group’s journey began more than three decades ago when the Congress’s Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, he said.
“Prime Minister Modi and I are from the same state. That makes me the easy target of such baseless allegations… It is unfortunate that such narratives are being pushed against me,” he said in an interview with India Today.
“These allegations suffer from recency bias, seeing our group’s success through a short-term lens. The fact of the matter is that my professional success is not because of any individual leader but because of the policy and institutional reforms initiated by several leaders and governments during a long period of over three decades,” Mr Adani said.
“Many will be surprised to know that it all began during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister, when he first liberalised the Exim (export-import) policy… But for Rajiv Gandhi, my journey as an entrepreneur would never have taken off,” he said.
“The second big push I got was in 1991 when the duo of Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh initiated sweeping economic reforms. Just like many other entrepreneurs, I too was a beneficiary of those reforms,” he said.
The business tycoon ascribed the “third turning point” of his career to the 1995 election of BJP’s Keshubhai Patel as the Chief Minister of Gujarat and a focus on coastal development that led to him to build his first port in Mundra.
“The fourth turning point was in 2001 when Gujarat witnessed a massive focus on development under Chief Minister Narendra Modi. His policies and their implementation went on to not only change the economic landscape of the state… it also allowed industries and employment to take off like never before,” Mr Adani said.
“Today, under his able leadership, we are seeing a similar resurgence at the national and international levels, where a new India is now asserting itself,” he added.
Mr Adani also said he was “inspired” by Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani.
“Dhirubhai Ambani is a source of inspiration for millions of budding entrepreneurs in India. He has shown how a humble man without any backing or resources and against all odds can not only set up a world-class business group but also leave a legacy. Being a first-generation entrepreneur and having a humble beginning, I am deeply inspired by him,” he said.
Offering an insight into his management style, he said, “All our businesses are run by professional, competent CEOs. I do not interfere in their day-to-day functioning.”
“My role is limited to formulating strategy, capital allocation and their review. It is for this reason that I have time to not only manage such a large and diverse organisation but also incubate several new businesses and also look for new opportunities for acquisitions,” Mr Adani said.
Disclaimer: The Adani Group has acquired over 64 per cent of NDTV.
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