Billionaire Gautam Adani has said his vast ports-to-power conglomerate has never received any preferential treatment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government or the BJP, demonstrated by the fact that it works in 22 states, not all governed by the party.
In an interview with India TV channel, Mr Adani, the world’s third-richest man, said the secret of his success was “mehnat” or hard work. “Only one formula works in business and practical life. Mehnat, mehnat, mehnat (hard work, hard work, hard work). Family’s support and God’s blessings.”
Listing his interests in states besides the ones governed by the BJP, he said, “We want to make maximum investments in every state… Adani group is really happy that today it is working in 22 states, and all these states are not BJP-ruled… I can say that we do not have any problem with any state government. We are working even in Left-ruled Kerala, in Mamata didi’s West Bengal, in Naveen Patnaik ji’s Odisha, in Jaganmohan Reddy’s state, even KCR’s state.”
“Investment is our normal programme. I had gone to the Rajasthan investors’ summit at the invitation of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Later, even Rahul (Gandhi) ji praised our investment in Rajasthan. I know Rahul’s policies are not anti-development,” he added, referring to a Rs 68,000 crore investment in the Congress-ruled state.
Explaining his stunning growth in Gujarat, he said, “Gujarat government is industry friendly. It’s not like they did any special favours to Adani.”
Mr Adani said critics who questioned his relationship with PM Modi forget that his journey began nearly four decades ago.
“I got three big breaks in my life. First, in 1985 during Rajiv Gandhi’s rule, when Exim policy allowed our company to become a global trading house. Second, in 1991, when PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh opened up the economy, and we entered into public-private partnership mode,” he said.
“And third, during Narendra Modi’s 12-year-long rule in Gujarat… I can say with pride that it was a very good experience. But I want to tell you that you can never get any personal help from Modi Ji. You can speak to him about policies in the national interest, but when a policy is framed, it is for all, not only for the Adani group,” he added.
Mr Adani said his company could not be accused of being handed out favours by the government because it only took up projects that were distributed transparently.
“We did not get a single project without bidding. Our Adani group has this philosophy of not touching any project without bidding, whether it is a port, an airport, roads or a power house. There is not a single allegation that we ‘managed’ bidding. Even Rahul Ji has not levelled any allegation about tampering with the bidding process,” he said.
Offering rare insight into the ties between two of India’s richest families, Mr Adani said he considers Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani a role model and his son Mukesh Ambani a “very good friend”.
“Dhirubhai is a role model, an inspiration for us… Mukesh Bhai is a very good friend of mine. I respect him a lot. He gave a new direction to Reliance with Jio, technology, retail, besides their conventional business of petrochemicals. He has contributed a lot to the progress of the country,” he said.
Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.