CHURUMURI POLL: Does Mukesh Ambani run India?

Long years ago, when Doordarshan was the only TV option for the mango people, the weekly serial was the sole form of entertainment in the back of beyond. Each evening, thirsty masses waited with bated breath for what Hum Log and  Khandaan, Ados Pados and Jaane bhi do yaaro would throw up that week.

That done, the waiting would begin again.

In the age of 24×7 news television, editors and journalists appear to have outsourced one hour of each week to Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan to allow them to air their libel-laden soap opera.

One week, they show the wheeling-dealing of Sonia Gandhi‘s son-in-law Robert Vadra; another week it is Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s son in-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya. One week, it is Salman Khurshid, another week it is Nitin Gadkari. One week, it is DLF, another week it is Reliance Industries.

And so it is, this Wednesday evening, when the producer-director duo behind India Against Corruption have merrily stated that it is RIL’s Mukesh Ambani, not Manmohan Singh, who is running the country. Using the cabinet reshuffle, in which the oil and petroleum minister S. Jaipal Reddy was shunted out to the lesser science and technology ministry, as the peg, the two have alleged:

# Reliance’s arm-twisting ways have caused a massive loss to the nation. Reliance has promised to deliver cheap gas for 17 years, but it has never delivered…

# Reliance has the contract to extract oil from KG Basin. Under an agreement of 2009 with the government, they are supposed to sell gas at $ 4.2 per mmBTU upto 31 March 2014. Midway now, RIL is demanding that the price be increased to $ 14.2 per mmBTU. Jaipal Reddy resisted that and he was thrown out…

# The then petroleum minister Mani Shankar Aiyar was replaced and Murli Deora was brought in to benefit RIL. Pranab Mukherjee gave undue benefit of Rs 8000 crore to RIL in 2007. Now, Jaipal Reddy has been ousted for objecting to raising RIL’s demand to raise gas prices.”

“The government is succumbing to the illegitimate demands of RIL. Even the PM was very sympathetic to RIL. And as a result, Reliance has gained more than Rs 1 lakh crore, that the country lost.”

Question: Are Kejriwal-Bhushan right? Do Mukesh Ambani and Reliance run the country?

Also read: Rajya Sabha TV tears into RIL-Network18-ETV deal

The sudden rise of Mukesh Ambani, media mogul

The Indian Express, Reliance & Shekhar Gupta

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, Prannoy Roy & NDTV

Why the Indian media doesn’t take on the Ambanis

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25 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Does Mukesh Ambani run India?”

  1. 4thaugust1932 Says:

    “Diverse society is bound to fail” –Putnam.

    India can implement with

    Former USSR republics are prospering in and

  2. Buddi Says:

    Dear all please don’t be blinded by this AK’s alleagtions. It is known fact all over india that Business Tycoons have there say in Government. But AK is like a loose canon who just fires and run away. He is playing child’s play, if he has guts he to prove everything, not saying the same thing which has already been public domain for long. He is like child who comes and says out and runs away.

  3. Suresh Panje Says:

    Yes, the Ambanis do dictate how to run (rather ruin) the country. The departed father senior Ambani did capitalise by trading in yarn and cotton, of course through speculation and hit the road to El Dorado. The rest is history.
    As for the corporate sector lobbying in the corridors of power, there is no second opinion.
    In 2000, the NDA government constituted a Commission headed by Justice M N Venkatachalaiah to review the Constitution. No doubt, the members of this team were all experts of integrity and yet the Reliance, I mean to say the Ambani had assigned a person to keep a close tab on the proceedings of this Commission. The company had hired a room at the star rated Le Meredian Hotel and a particular south Indian gentleman (I forget his name. He was trapped in some other related case from his residence at Friends Colony) used to make daily trips to Vigyan Bhavan from where the Commission used to function. He would collect xerox copies of the incoming and outgoing correspondence from the Commission’s secretariat. Surely, the palms of clerks and peons were greased for this. I say this since the NGO with which I was associated and submitted numerous proposals to Justice Venkatachalaiah, used to visit Vigyan Bhavan often and on every occasion, I happened to meet this top executive of Reliance. So much so, he would drop me back in his car at the Krishi Bhavan bus stop for me to return to Vasant Vihar.
    So there is nothing new about Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan airing these views.

  4. harkolharkol Says:

    Mukhesh Ambani the person? May be not. Mukhesh Ambani ‘the concept’? Certainly.

    India is a Oligarchic system run by a clique of crony capitalist, robber barons. Some of them are even in Politics across parties.

    India today is almost in the same situation as USA was about 120years back. Fast transforming to a modern economy, massive social changes, and archaic legal & financial system.

    US transformed itself because it found its progressive leaders. If we don’t we’ll not exist as a country in 50-100 years. India may break up.

  5. Maddy Says:

    Can’t say it’s Mukesh Ambani, but certainly Corporates ………

  6. Gaampa Says:

    This is taking a very long shot by Kejriwal and company. Large scale administrations can never be done by water tight arrangements. There should be some leeway that has to be bestowed to the hands of the administrator.
    AK and co expect hyper accountability. An honest introspection reveals that none of us can supremely proclaim that we have lead an super honest life. Most cannot control / reign our own family members. How can we expect India to be run so ??

  7. narayana, narayana! Says:

    What the knowledgeable know, what many suspect, Kejriwal & Co have only spoken about in the open….that Reliance rules India.
    Journalists in India know a lot more about events but write just the minimum that keeps them in their jobs and/or that pleases their bosses or what the paper’s proprietor and his friends want the public to be told.
    Thus we have newspapers that allocate columns upon columns to cricket and film stars as though they are the only two newsworthy subjects, and adding a few paid plugs as other news.
    Kejriwal & Co will do a big favour to Indians if it can dig out what’s really happening in real India, so that aam aadmi wakes up!

  8. Shridharaswamy Says:

    I happen to read an interview with Mr. Bagchi of MindTree, according to him, “Business is purely corruption”.


    “If you find a honest person who does not take bribe, you find out that he is a devotee of Lord Venkateswara, you grease his palm with an offer to fly him and his family to Tirupathi in your Jet, which he accepts”,

    Most Brahmins in my street have taken to “Business” to lead a good life.

  9. Anonymous Guy Says:

    At least someone is running India, if this charge happens to be true… If Team Anna gets it way, India will stop even its aimless crawl forward. Things will move backward. Good thing Kejriwal divorced himself from the wannabe Gandhi.

  10. Sanjeeva Says:

    With the LPG, plutocracy was bound to happen, shedding the garb of socialism.

  11. Dr. Mahadevaswamy Says:

    Not only Mukesh Ambani only running government other enterpriners indirictly ruli8ng the country.

  12. shiv Says:

    It is catch 22 situation..”Industrialists” depend on politicians and the politicians depend on industrialists because one knows how to loot natural resources and the other has the power to legislate on the side of the looter.There is a third side to to complete an equilateral triangle to ensure that the structure has total stability to loot and this third side is the bureaucrat who is the slave who does the dirty work of the 2 sides.This powerful nexus one leaning on the other is screwing the ordinary world.The common man has nowhere to run, totally confused and powerless.That is why it is important not to keep on questioning people who at least have run a clean government or who are fighting corruption.This stupid group of onlookers who we are all give legitimacy by giving the looters importance and in turn make the looters care a damn.So stop fawning on Page3 and the looters, that at least will be a start to change and if possible to force the looters to be less brazen.There are honest industrialist/politician/bureaucrat but they are currently overwhelmed and hence powerless to change things around.But these people still exist.Branson when interviewed recently in Indian media said clearly that the rich in India cannot display their wealth and it is ugly of them to do so when millions are struggling to live a decent life.This realisation has to come and humane feeling need to develop from the rich and mighty for this country to have any hope.So onlookers like us need to practice total disdain and ignore all these looters, this will set a trend.Don’t invite them to your functions, don’t give them importance, stay away from their company.Please don’t envy them or fawn on them.

  13. Praveen Kodabagi Says:

    Even though I am not much of a Kejriwal follower but this time he has really said something very sensible. The real power lies in the hands of these big bourgeois who rule over the country of billions. The best example one can get is that of the Neo Liberal economic reforms of the 1990’s where we come across horrifiying figures of rich becoming richer and the poor becming more poor. It is during this time that these so called capitalists amassed so much of unrelentless wealth when at during the very same time there was large scale population of our country going hunger.

    Any kind of supreme individualism or atleast the sense that we accord to it to some individuals such as Mukesh Ambani is a very dangerous trend because as they move prove to be very harmful to the growth of the country since looking after their selfish interests becomes a prime motive to them and in the very process they start dictating the terms to the State and as P Sainath brillianly argues this kind of power gives them a position where the start seeing things differently in the sense of master – slave, they may even want to secede. hence involving in blackmail, threat etc. These guys are threat to the nation, state structure and to everything.

  14. Vinay Says:

    Praveen Kodabagi:

    You are a bigger threat to the state than Ambanis or any politicians.

    This crap of “rich becoming richer and poor becoming more poor” needs to be brutally put down immediately. The reality is that people were uniformly poor earlier, but now there are many more “rich” and “middle class” people than there were before. More than 200 million people have been pulled out of poverty after the 1990s, due to economic reforms and development.

    Please cut the crap about “poooor people becoming more poooor”. It is a lie, and useless propaganda by people who have no idea about statistics, economics and the realities of the country.

    I reiterate – people with your kind of thinking are bigger threats to the nation than any crony capitalists like Ambanis, or any crooked politicians.

  15. babuds Says:

    In general Indian corporates are thick skinned as far as ethics, discretion and social responsibility is concerned. This is true in most cases who do business with Government. Such businesses with Government include transactions in natural resources, namely mines, fuel (Coal and Gas), Land, infrastructure, air waves etc. Wanting their cut, those in charge of governance, animal-train the corporates initially in the give and take policy. Once tasting the blood, the corporates become veterans in the game and start dictating the rules. Even if Reliance rules us we are no worse than now

  16. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    India would have been a much better place if an efficient capitalist like Mukesh Ambani had been running the country. These so-called socialists (with billions stashed away in Swiss banks) have completely ruined the country.

    The fact that there is so much poverty, corruption and lawlessness in the country is by itself a proof of the fact that efficient and intelligent people like Mukesh Ambani are not running the government.

    So Churmuri, your question in the poll is misplaced…

  17. shanoi Says:

    As far as I remember Ghanashyamdasji Birla used to run congress in preindependence and for some time post independence days. They cornered almost all good licenses and ran the country by virtual monopoly

    Yet he built popular temples in metros

    They gave God a part of the booty
    Jai Ho

  18. shiv Says:

    Hello MrObjectivist Mantra Says:
    5 November 2012 at 9:52 am
    “India would have been a much better place if an efficient capitalist like Mukesh Ambani had been running the country.”

    Whom are you fooling? Smoking something special?Tell me which of his company is world class? Are their customers get value?Innovative products?Employees treated fairly?Are their suppliers paid on time after the prices get squeezed?I can go on.Indian industrialists are mediocre protected by the government.Let a level playing field come then you will see how many of these barons survive.

  19. desaibankim Says:

    Arvind Kejriwal has nationalised and globalised my ‘one man campaign’ against Mukesh_Nita Ambani, RIL & RGTIL. When I started it, i was alone. i put in all resources i could muster. None of Indian media or media person took its note and notice. Washington Post, The New York Times, Reuters, the New Yorker, BBC World News Service, The Globe and Mail displayed my writings on online discussion boards. Gradually that system was discontinued in the Internet format change. i must acknowledge the encouragement i received from these online publications.

    i wrote to President Obama, The Bank of America and World Bank to high light the modus-operandi of Mukesh_Nita Ambani, RIL, RGTIL. i warned and subsequently prayed, “May God save the USA, the people of USA and Bank of America” from Mukesh_Nita Ambani , RIL, RGTIL. The couple corrupted the intelligentsia of London School of Economics (LES) and Stanford University. i received appreciation from academicians from abroad.

    i wrote to the Chief Justice of India only to get the reply that i should submit my papers through a Supreme Court lawyer. i can not afford high fees, so, i sat tight. i wrote to the PMO and Chairperson as well as members of NAC. Nothing moved. Only tangential effect was the removal of RIL Family’s Mama, Murli Deora as the minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The then minister of law and justice, Dr. Verappa Moily sat tight on my suggestions for the amendments in the P. and M.P.Act 1962.

    Meanwhile i organized victims of RGTIL. At the SCI front, Nilkanth S.Pandya, Trilok S. Pandya and Laljibhai Savalia won the historic legal battle against RGTIL. The appointment of V.I.Gohil. Competent Authority,RGTIL was scrapped by SCI. The first of such an instant since the enactment of the Land Acquisition Act 1895 and the Petroleum and Mineral Pipelines Act 1962.

    The recent events have made all the victims of RGTIL very happy throughout India. We thank Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and IAC for nationalisation & globalisation of ‘one man’s campaign’ against Mukesh_Nita Ambani, RIL and RGTIL. Time, place, person and precious moment make the difference. Bankimchandra M. Desai is NOT Arvind Kejriwal. That is the difference. We thank GOD and all farmers for the ripe moment caught by Arvind Kejriwal.

  20. praveen kodabagi Says:

    Sir, how did I become a threat by merely expressing an opinion is really out of my understanding ( Or is it really yours?), There are certain terms that you have used which have negative connotations which perhaps you may be unaware because of the simplicity of your statements as I can make out from your writing. You said that more than 200 million people have been pulled out of poverty, it seems that it is a inception done on you through various methods by the state ( Another one of the victims of the state !) I cant help but mention your statement that people were uniformly poor earlier ( thank god your statement bears some resemblance to equality atleast in that sentence)

    Sir lastly, when did talking for poor people and the marginalized become a threat. You go by Government statistics and say that 200 million people were actually pulled out, WOW thats big and a very radical statement. Since you have focussed on the Government figures so much and relied on it completely you might also want hear an example from Vidharba in Maharashtra when the Government said regarding the increasing suicides committed by the farmers that they need counselling! for gods sake Counselling and even more funnier they said the phenemena of committing suicide was a very recent one though in reality they had started from the 1990’s onwards which reached their peak only in the recent times in 2008- 2009. The thing that the middle class is emerging and is the main defacto factor etc is a bloody lie. There simply is no middle class in India and by that I mean their proportion is highly exaggerated. When the Government can reduce the poverty line to mere 28 something a day it can also make individuals such as you also believe in their agenda. Since you mentioned that people have no idea about the realities, statistics of the country etc I find it quite funny in the sense that I come from a real India ( I hope you realize I am intending villages here), I have the statistics regarding the said period and I can recommend you many scholarly books from both the sides the version of the government as well the version against it.

  21. Vinay Says:

    praveen kodabagi:

    You are a threat because you spread around vibes that the socialist licence-raj economy was better for the nation, and that we are worse off now, liberalization has destroyed us, and all the rest of those poisonous lies. That is why you are a threat.

    You claim that you are “talking for the poor and marginalized”. No, you are talking for the socialist licence-raj economy, not for the “poor and marginalized”. Yeah, your prescriptions will keep the poor in the same state of poverty for eternity. India will forever remain a land of slums, snake charmers and “Ghandi”.

    Anyone just needs to open their eyes and see around them, to look at the progress and development that has happened all over the country in the last 20 years. Actually, this pseudo-socialist propaganda that “poooor people are getting more poooor” is a bloody lie.

    The country is much better off today than it was 20 years back. Anyone who has lived through the 1980s, 1990s and the preceding decade will tell you that. Only a shameless liar will reject this fact.

    Of course, the country has no shortage of pseudo-socialist whiners who will talk of “pollution”, “traffic”, and “loss of values” to beat down all the progress that has happened. Just like you are talking about increase in farmer suicides in some districts in India. Why, suicides in Bangalore and urban upper-class have increased too, for various reasons. So what should we do? Why don’t you look at the overall picture and realize that India is much better off today than it ever has in modern history? At an overall level, there are less poor people and more rich people today than there ever have been in the last 500 years!

  22. dr ramesh Says:

    Recently HUGO CHAVEZ, hugely popular leader won another term of premier ship of Venezuela. Croony capitalists in USA along with USA govt tried very hard to eliminated Chavez, Chavez protected the huge oil reserve in his country from private players, made sure fuel is available at a reasonable cost to his fellow citizens.
    Such good things cannot happen in India, any natural resource is first sold to a private player at a cheap price, then govt buys the same resource from them paying double the price. Winners here are politicians and corporates,
    Public at the receiving end.
    Read in an article , jaipal reddy few months back, asked ambani, what he would have done if he occupied the chair of a central minister, protect interest of Indian citizens or of a private company?
    jaipal knew straight away after he said this that he was on his way out of ministry.

  23. Praveen Kodabagi Says:


    Sir, the contradiction in your argument is although it makes a series of serious analytical statements but they are in fact obscenely funny. Without giving much thought you have concluded that I stand for Socialist license – Raj economy. Neither have I written anything regarding that nor did I imply anywhere that I stand for it. This is written throughout the comment. Hence it is Funny because I have not implied anything as such.

    It is obscenely funny because you keep calling me a threat. Your use of word is also very obscenely funny because they are rigid, strong which if put to practice would collapse in no time. What is this concept of poisonous lies? If mine is a poisonous lie then you should suffer from it. Instead you are all energetic and even strongly criticising what I have written. Is not that a Contradiction?

    The movement somebody talks about the marginalized or the poor, people have the tendency to tag them as a socialist. I feel sorry for you because you have not understood my comments as it is very evident from what you have replied back. I have never mentioned the prescriptions, please check it this time with Mind open ! Hence again it is obscenely funny. I simply fail to understand how Gandhi popped up into the debate all of a sudden.

    In your third paragraph you have mentioned that you have reiterated the already known statement that poor people becoming more poor is a bloody lie. You have also insisted that one should open their eyes and see around to actually see the development that is taking place all over the country in 20 years. This is a very subjective interpretation. It differs from one person to another. Hence please do not try and indulge generalizing the things.I have kept my eyes open and seen the places, the development etc. I see different India’s. There is no single Indian reality that you have so gone out of your to defend. India is country where hundreds of things happen everyday. I will tell you what all are the changes have taken place in India in the last 20 years. the Rich have become the elite, the public sphere has become associated with the culture of the elite, the large scale growth of wait loss clinics, the large scale increase in the working of the poor, You are one of the best examples of the victims of India shining, Indian development. This is not to say that development is not taking place in India. Of course it is taking place. But we also need to look at who is taking the benefits of the development. who are the people getting benefitted? In this regard the first comment on this article by august guy has recommened one article on diversity being a failure, please have a look. Hence your third paragrapgh too is obscenely funny.

    In your fourth paragraph you seem to have used very harsh critique against those who have rejected this idea that there was no development in india. The Indian country is of course much better off today than it was 20 years. despite this there seems to be a problem where the poverty stillll exists. People are still suffering of hunger, dalits are still getting discriminated ofcourse in new forms, women are still getting raped etc etc. the point is the economic growth of India has come to be restricted only to few cities and regions and it is not uniform. The development is as much social, political, psychological, as it is economical. Hence please do not see developemnt just in terms of the economic aspects. Do check the HDI ranking of India which is worse than some of the African countries. Do checkhow much women feel safer in cities such as Delhi, Bombay. Delhi in fact has come to be called as the Rape capital of the country. SO what does this development that you talk about mean to them?

    In the fifth sentence i simply do not understand what to reply because it is plain funny. You question the suicides of vidharbha and other places. are you even aware of the seriousness of the nature of these suicides? You make nonsense analogy by comparing these suicides to the urban upper class in the big cities. There are hundreds of differences between the suicides committed in the urban and in the regions such as Vidharbha. What should we do is the question you seem to ask? I simply have no understanding of this question. Understand this atleast that suicides committed there in the coutryside are mainly for the lack of resources, poverty, debt, faulty policies of the government etc. The urban suicides are highly unfortunate too and we only should feel sorry for the state of affars in the country because even in the urban areas people are commtting suicides. we need to ask why? if we go by your definition of development then all these pople should be happy. you yourself that question why are they committing suicide despite so much of development. Are you even aware that in some countries the development is actually measures byt the happyness of its subjects?

  24. Vinay Says:

    Praveen Kodabagi:

    As long as you are not a poisonous socialist, you are not a threat. If you are, you are certainly a major threat to the nation.

    India started developing, and has developed in the last 20 years, simply because poisonous socialism was discarded and because of the liberalization of the economy. You cannot ask “why is poverty still there” – it is such statements that make one suspect your socialist leanings. Poverty and economic problems are reducing, and you need to give some time for the poisonous effects of 50 years of licence-raj socialism to disappear from the Indian economy. The more liberalization we have, the faster that will happen.

  25. Praveen Kodabagi Says:

    You have been captivated by your thoughts. These thoughts stem from the picture that capitalism has showed you. It has had so much of impact on that you refuse to believe anything out of the box. Your thinking begins and ends with capitalism. Hence whatever I say will not make much impact.
    Regards, Praveen

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