An Open Letter to Mukesh Ambani and Uday Kotak

Dear Mukeshji and Udayji,

Sadar Pranam,

Subject: Your endorsement of Milind Deora

I come from a business family based in Goa. In addition, I have been active with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad since about 1990, and presently I am the Karyadhakshya of Vishwa Vibhag of the organization.

You have recommended to the voters of the parliamentary constituency of South Mumbai that Milind Deora of the Indian National Congress (INC) be elected to represent them in the 17th Lok Sabha.  In the message that you have given in the video that is being circulated by Milindji, your endorsement is on the basis of your assessment that Milindji knows the constituency well since he had represented it for ten consecutive years during the 14th and 15th Lok Sabha. Udayji has also alluded to the fact that Milindji’s family, through his late father (Murli Deora), had also worked for the constituency.

Milindji, if elected, will be a member of a chamber that will consist of 542 other members.  In this chamber, the subjects that will be discussed will be those related to the whole nation. They will encompass subjects like culture, social policy, education, foreign relations, economy, etc.  While issues specific to South Mumbai may come up, it will be rare indeed. So, if you think that Milindji will do something primarily for South Mumbai, I would have thought that such a role could be better performed by him being a Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly or a member of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. 

Another option would be to start a think-tank devoted to studying South Mumbai and work out plans about how to improve the total quality of life in this part of the city.  Job creation would be one of them.

Milindji is one of the senior leaders in INC, and he has been nominated by the party as its representative in the upcoming election.  Milindji is also the current President of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee. In this respect, Milindji is expected to project the views of the INC at every available opportunity. It would be disingenuous to separate the identity of Milindji as a potential MP for South Mumbai and his larger identity as a senior leader in INC.

A recommendation by people of your status in the society carries a lot of weight. Unlike many, you have the resources to undertake a detailed analysis of Milindji’s capability to contribute in an informed way on some of the important subjects that come up in Parliament.  A large number of people in South Mumbai would be interested in not just the affairs of this part of the city, but also to the nation. And a significant number would also be interested on issues relating to international relations. 

So, would I be right that you have also made an analysis of what Milindji has to offer when the above issues came up for discussions and that you approve of most of them? So, let me ask your views on some specific points.

One of the main campaign slogan of INC in the present elections is “Chowkidar Chor Hai” (the guard is a thief), and it refers to the present Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.  Do you agree? 

An important proposal to remove poverty (a task that the INC has been at since 1947) is to give Rs 72,000 per year to the 20% of the families that are below the poverty line.  Do you think this will achieve the objective?

INC says it will review the Armed Forces Special Protection Act, which gives the members of armed forces, who are deputed to tackle issues relating to internal security, some protection against provisions of the civil and criminal acts which could be unintentionally flouted in the course of the duties that have been thrust on them. Lt General Hooda, who has been tasked to make a national security document for the INC, has said that the present level of protection is not sufficient.  Do you agree with the position taken by the INC?

There are many such specific points that can be raised. However, there is an important point that I would like to ask your opinion on – regarding the Rafael issue. The president of Milindji’s party, Rahul Gandhi, says that the Chowkidar has put Rs 30,000 crores in the pocket of Anil Ambani.  Do you agree?

With respect to each of the point above, if you agree, please let the voters of South Mumbai know the reasons. If not, please let these voters know that you have discussed with Milindji why you disagree.

Given your knowledge on the affairs of the nation, you are aware of the state of the country when the United Progressive Alliance was ruling – an alliance in which Milindji’s party was the main constituent. He also served as a minister in the government. I hope you have expressed your concerns, if any, on the state of affairs at the time. And that you are satisfied that what happened during those ten years will not be repeated, should there be another UPA government.

Needless to say, I will be requesting my friends to vote for Arvind Sawant, the Shiv Sena candidate for South Mumbai, since he is representing the National Democratic Alliance. To my mind, every vote and every seat will strengthen the hand of Narendra Modi to complete the aspirational agenda of 2014, and take our country to even greater heights.

Namaste.

Yours sincerely,

Ashok Chowgule


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About the Author

Ashok Chowgule
Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.