27 July, 2021

Different Strokes

The Bajajs have stuck together for four generations and made it big. But their dream run seems to be coming to an end.

Different Strokes
The cover pic of a young Rajiv Bajaj kneeling at his father Rahul's feet on a business magazine cover in 1993 tacitly put to rest all queries about the succession plan in Bajaj Auto, the flagship company of the Bajaj family. The Rs 6,000-crore business empire with interests in two-wheelers, electricals, sugar and steel is parcelled equally between five active members—Rahul and Shishir, the sons of Kamalnayan, and their three cousins Shekhar, Madhur and Niraj (Ramakrishna Bajaj's sons)—and like all family-run business operations, inheritance has been a thorny issue. In the past, the family has had closed conclaves to thrash out the blueprint of the future, but it's always been private.

Rahul Bajaj, the eldest in the family, has been quite candid over the issue: "If one guy wants to, he just goes. And if the four don't want to give him anything, he doesn't get anything but for his wealth in accordance to his share.... He can't get Bajaj Auto."

That's precisely the problem. With most of the companies in the stable—Mukand Ltd, Bajaj Electricals or Hercules...

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