Many politicians including Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi accused Narendra Modi of giving away lands at throwaway prices to his friend Gautam Adani. Nowadays, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also started attacking Modi on frequent intervals. She rejected the Gujarat model of development in which “thousands of acres” of land has been given to “friends” of Modi at “throwaway prices” and accused him of treating the country as a “classroom”.
Campaigning for her mother, Sonia Gandhi, she also took a dig at Modi for his ‘ABCD’ and ‘RSVP’ jibes and said he should instead tell people what he planned to do for them. Priyanka said that people possess an unmatched understanding and they knew about Modi’s Gujarat model of development “where you (Modi) gave thousands of acres of land to your friends.” Modi had recently described UPA’s governance as “RSVP model” in which a person was able to multiply his earnings from Rs. one lakh to Rs. 400 crore in five years. Giving his own meaning to RSVP, he said it stood for “Rahul, Sonia, Vadra and Priyanka”. He had also attacked Congress saying ‘ABCD’ has become a symbol of corruption by Congress party with ‘A’ referring to Aadarsh scam and ‘B’ denoting Bofors. Priyanka said any leader whether from her own party or from any other, should speak about what they would do for the people.
With political parties using him as a punching bag in the highly charged election campaign, Adani Group head Gautam Adani denied special favours from Modi and said his group has since 1993 acquired only barren waste land for infrastructure projects. The USD 8.7 billion ports-to-energy Adani Group began acquiring land near the coastal town of Mundra in Gujarat way back in 1993 and only one-third of a total landbank of 15,946 acres was acquired when Modi was Chief Minister. He told media that, not a single acre has been taken from any farmer. Adani went to Kutch, when no one looked there and acquired only barren and dessert-like land that was not suitable for agriculture. Adani used the land to build India’s biggest port, which loaded and unloaded a record 100 million tons of cargo in the year that ended on March 31, and the nation’s biggest coal power station in the private sector; his group did not buy land at cheap rates to sell it to make profits. When they began acquiring land at Mundra in 1993, (Chief Minister) Chimanbhai Patel charged them 10 paisa per square meter. (BJP government led by) Keshubhai Patel (in 1995) charged them Re. 1 per sq mt and Shankersinh Vaghela (led Rashtriya Janata Party) in 1996-07, charged Rs. 1.5 per sq mt. Under Modi, they got some 5,000 acre of land at an average of Rs. 15 per sq mt rate.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has in his political meetings used alleged largesse to industrialists like Adani to attack Modi. At a recent rally, Gandhi claimed that Modi had given Adani land for Re. 1, the price of a toffee. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal too has alleged a nexus between Modi and industrialists like Adani and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001 and Adanis got first land under him in 2006 to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under UPA government’s SEZ policy. They wanted 10,000 acres but got only 5,000 acres. Now, people are comparing the price we paid 20 years back for barren, non-agriculture land with the market rate of a land that has been developed with all facilities like road and electricity. A school dropout, Adani moved to Mumbai at the age of 16 to try his luck. He initially dabbled in diamond trade before returning to his home state Gujarat to run a small plastic factory owned by his brother. Eventually, he set up his own import and export business, Adani Enterprises in 1988. Few years later, he borrowed heavily and invested in Mundra’s vast swathes of marshy wasteland to build India’s largest port. In Mundra, Adani also built India’s largest privately- owned power plant, producing 4,620 MW of power, and a 64-km railway connecting the port to railway network. Adani has also gone abroad, he has bought mines, ports, and railways in Australia and Indonesia. Adani plans to double his group size by 2020. Mundra port capacity will be doubled to 200 million tons; electricity generation capacity will be raised from 8,620 MW to 20,000 MW and the group will mine 200 million tons of coal.
Many ministers attacked Modi and Adani over land issues but nobody is providing proof for the accusations of gifting away land. Priyanka Gandhi could have become a successful politician if she had got involved actively in Congress. She chooses to campaign only for her brother and mother which is destroying her political career. One cannot take part in politics during election time and rest of the time enjoy personal life. If she wants to be a successful politician, she has to take it as full time work like her mother and brother. When the Congress is on the verge of its worst defeat, she has suddenly woken up and is giving all sorts of statements. This will not work, Priyanka.
Priyanka does not hold any post in the Congress party and has never contested elections. Even she does not have Gandhi as her surname. To the contrary, her husband’s alleged illegalities are the talk of the town. It is then quite amusing for her to pass judgement on Modi and BJP from the vantage point of, not an ordinary ‘private’ citizen (as her husband claims to be), but as a leader. Robert Vadra is accused of land grabbing scams. She should realise that her husband has destroyed Congress and blotted the image of her mother and brother. Rather than working on image makeover, she is attacking Modi which will not benefit the Congress Party in such crucial time of anti-Congress waves.
This is good thing that, Adani came himself and opened up to the media and presented his side of the story too. I wish this debate will stop right here.