‘Media Selectively Focusing on Ambani, All Traders With Me’: Deora
Congress’ Lok Sabha candidate for Mumbai South, Milind Deora, responded to the recent brouhaha over a campaign video featuring industrialist Mukesh Ambani.
The Reliance Industries chairman had publicly endorsed Deora, which had raised eyebrows in political circles.
Dismissing the ‘selective focus’ on Ambani, Deora, while speaking to The Quint, said:
He also said that the biggest problem facing the country today was unemployment.
“While unemployment is considered to be an economic issue as of now... it can soon become a political or a national issue. Which is why, it is imperative that we support small and medium businesses,” he added.
In the now viral video, tweeted by Deora from his Twitter handle, Ambani can be heard saying, "Milind is the man for South Bombay."
"Having represented South Bombay for 10 years, I believe Milind has in-depth knowledge of the social, economic and cultural ecosystem of the South Bombay constituency," Ambani adds.
But there is more to this story than meets the eye.
Does Ambani’s Backing of Deora Spell Trouble for BJP?
Ambani’s public endorsement of a political candidate in itself is “unprecedented,” a political expert told The Quint.
The fact that it was for a Congress candidate in the midst of a general election only adds to the potential impact of the seemingly innocuous campaign video.
The support behind Deora is likely to raise eyebrows within the ruling dispensation’s camp, for a public endorsement of an Opposition candidate by the leading industrialist in the country – as PM Narendra Modi seeks a second term – is certainly “a cause for concern,” the expert added.
This can be gleamed from the chatter on social media, with known BJP proponents – like BlueKraft founder Akhilesh Mishra – criticising Ambani’s decision.
However, the fact that the Deoras and the Ambanis have had close ties for a long time, the expert added, offers an alternate explanation.
Ambani’s father, Dhirubhai, had famously backed Deora’s father, Murli, and their close ties had been a hot topic for discussion in political circles. This, then, can perhaps explain Ambani’s decision.
But Ambani is not the only corporate honcho seen in the video that is being seen as a nod to Deora’s ‘pro-development’ campaign pitch. Uday Kotak, Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, also features in the video.
The elder brother, Mukesh, had just last month bailed Anil out by paying off his Rs 458 crore dues to Ericsson, saving him from possible jail time.
Deora, meanwhile, is fighting in close quarters with Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant in Mumbai South, which goes to polls on 29 April.
‘Jumping Off a Sinking Ship’, or a ‘Finger In Every Pie’?
Many users on Twitter reacted to Ambani’s endorsement, claiming that it foretold a change in the political winds.
(This story was originally published on 18 April. It has been updated with Milind Deora’s inputs on 29 April.)