Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Anil Ambani, fight your own war

People fond of the limelight can never stay away from it. Anil Ambani was always Reliance's media man. He is very comfortable with the media and for very long, people didn't know how Mukesh looks like. All the while, Mukesh stayed back in the field quietly building the Reliance businesses. Of course, Anil too contributed, otherwise Dhirubhai would have booted him out. But Anil was very comfortable and fond of the limelight.

Even during the split of the Reliance empire in 2005, it was Anil who was ranting off statements in the media, while Mukesh kept silent all through out. Of course, it was a casual statement by Mukesh that triggered the entire chain of events. Even now, both Mukesh's and Anil's companies are taking pot-shots at each other. Things like blocking Reliance Communications' MTN bid, or Anil's infrastructure company disputing the allotment of the Sewri-Navi Mumbai sea link have been happening. At the receiving end has been the customer, the shareholder and in some cases, the general public. But while Mukesh's companies have stuck to legal arguments, Anil, the lime-light seeker has tried all weapons in his armour. He has used emotional arguments, allegations, and now, he has begun to play with public emotions. Check the latest series of advertisements that his company is issuing in newspapers, albeit on behalf of its shareholders. Well, the largest of all shareholders happens to be Anil himself. The company is trying to do a Ram Jethmalani on the Government of India. During the Bofors' scandal, Ram Jethmalani sent a similar series of questions, published through newspapers, that he wanted the government to answer. But, while Ram Jethmalani didn't have any business interests, ADAG certainly stands to benefit if the government forces RIL to change its decision.

While the advertisement shown here doesn't mention NTPC directly, tDAG is definitely using it for its purpose. That is because like ADAG, RIL is charging higher gas prices to NTPC too. The question is formulated to strike an emotional appeal with the readers. Who would want a higher power tariff? Readers are bound to react against RIL. But, why is ADAG using NTPC as a proxy to fight its war? Like Arjun used Shikhandi to defeat Bhishma in the Mahabharat war. But, ADAG is not Arjun, neither is NTPC Shikhandi, nor is RIL like Bhishma.

But here is another side of the coin, which might not see the light of the day, given the poor circulation of my blog. If gas prices had fallen to below $2.5 per mmBTU, which was promised to ADAG and NTPC, Anil would again have cried the same way, asking prices to be lowered and brought in sync with the global prices. At that time, RIL would have fought to maintain the sanctity of the contract. Then too, ADAG would have come out with advertisements, asking people to vote in national interest. Then Anil would have said that family MoU should not come in the way of national interest. All arguments that ADAG is making can be turned around to suit their interests if gas prices fall below $2.5. To sum it up, this isn't a case of national interest at all. If ADAG were to import the gas, they would pay the price that was asked for. It all boils down to economics and profits that companies stand to lose or gain depending on the pricing of the gas. The common man is again a pawn in the hands of the power-players.

But Anil can surely be man enough to fight his war, not relying on NTPC, which along with profits also has social objectives, because of it being a PSU. Nor should he play with human emotions and manipulate them to get them on his side.
Anil Ambani, fight your own warSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

No comments:

Post a Comment