13 April, 2021

The Boot Is On The Other Foot

Post-reforms, India Inc. cares little for them. Parties have to make do with the trickle from traders in the regulated sectors

The Boot Is On The Other Foot

ELECTION time is when Indian industry masters the art of denial. Denial of any off-the-balance-sheet funding of political parties. Just last week, India's largest private sector company, Reliance Industries, shot off a legal notice to an English newsmagazine that printed a picture of its chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani, in a report on political funding.

While admitting that "political funding in this country is like illicit sex, nobody wants to talk about it," Anthony Jesuda-san, senior executive vice-president, Reliance, feels that today, in post-liberalisa-tion India, "there has been a complete change in both people's as well as the companies' perceptions on political funding." Industry sources also hold the view that major industrial groups today feel far less need to court political patronage, since they are largely unshackled from the compulsions of the erstwhile licence-quota regime. "Frankly, post-reforms, it's very difficult for the government to stick a gun to any big company's head," says the CEO of a...

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