The Modani Question and its Goan Ripples

Image Source: The Financial Times

The Adani crisis is greeted as the Modani crisis. In several ways, some of the mud that is hurled at the face of the Prime Minister seems to stick. This is so because it is Adani himself who has framed the crisis as a calculated attack on India. In his attempt to seek cover behind the proverbial foreign hand, Adani inadvertently dragged the Government into his own crisis. There is some truth to this to the extent the attack on Adani is to some extent an attack on India as it seems to have dissuaded foreign investments bringing the Indian financial system under suspicion. Perhaps, it has been a wake-up call for the Government to relook at its tall claims of having put our financial system on right track. The fact that a travail of one single company becomes a thunderbolt for the country seems to suggest that much of the rhetoric that said ‘ na kahunga na kahane dunga; is simply hyperbolic. We have to accept that the Adani mess has put a spotlight on our Governance practices manifesting some failures in our regulatory system.

The Adani fiasco is troubling yet an important question still lingers for us in Goa, We might ask what does it have for us in Goa? One important takeaway for us in Goa is an immediate suspicion about the Sagar Mala project. What is presented as the nationalization of our rivers is nothing but the corporatization of the same. In the name of the nationalization of our rivers, Goa is put on a fast track to become a coal hub for the likes of Adani to exploit our natural resources to amass wealth. While the grain of suspicion hangs on the Sagar Mala project, the real issue is whether the defaced Adani will abandon his coal project in Goa. Maybe this is nothing more than wishful thinking. But our anxieties refuse to calm down and we still hope that the Adani crisis might disrupt his coal interest in Goa. While this hope is welcome, it also raises questions on the manner in which our Goa Government is bending back to please its master at the centre. This only tells us that the centre seems to be treating us and Goa as its ‘colony’ even much after the liberation of Goa.

The fact that the Supreme Court has rejected a sealed envelope mode to investigate the misdeeds of Adani as proposed by the Government and brought it under public scrutiny under its eyes much to the dislike of our Government, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. But we as Goans have to still be cautious. The light that we see at the end of the tunnel can be the headlight of another engine that is coming to crush us. The dramatic fall of Adani is also the symbolic fall of the Government. The optics are not good for both Adani and the Government in Delhi. Hence, there is the total silence of the Prime Minister while a vociferous defence is being taken up by a few ministers as well as the godi-media. There is a clear attempt to shut down all opposition on this issue even in our Parliament.

It is certain that the image of PM has been damaged. From the triumphant moment when the winning Modi flue to Delhi in Adani’s aircraft to the several foreign trips as well to the rise of Adani mirroring the rise of Modi at the level of optics, one can see a partnership between Adani and Modi. Adani’s growth story was viewed and proclaimed as India’s growth story. Adani’s astounding debt-fueled rise also points to his links with the ruling benches. This grand standing has come back to haunt the ruling party. Hence, his fall from the top leaves several questions unanswered and casts aspersions on the role of the Government in his meteoric rise. The Adani bubble seems to have burst. If it has not burst, it has certainly halved its size. Although Adani group has declared its intent to continue with all its business plans, it is more likely that some of them will be pulled back given the jolt that it received because of the Hindenberg Report. There are several lessons in the Adani fiasco. BJP’s grandstanding seems to be found out. It might reveal that its tall promises are only realized for the rich and the powerful. Moreover, we seem to understand that India cannot grow on the back of corporate monopolies. Besides, it tells us that heavy debts, complex finances and opaque Governance cannot be the engine of India’s growth.

The loss of credibility of the national Government has strengthened the perception that the double-engine Government in Goa too has sacrificed the interest of Goans when comes to our rivers. The diversion of the Mhadei issue The Government defence that positioned the Adani saga as a conspiracy engineered by the ‘colonial’ West does not seem to cut ice. What has haunted Congress on the verge of its loss to the BJP in 2014 has come to haunt the BJP in 2023. If then, we had anti-corruption, we have the Bharat Jodo yatra of Rahul Gandhi today. If there were red flags about the corruption in Congress and its several scams, today we have the BBC documentary on the Modi Question and the downfall of Adani. Will these parallel storms change the electoral fortunes of opposition in our country? What will become of the aspirations of the middle class? Will the middle class feel betrayed and let down by the ruling BJP? Maybe the time that is to come has answers to these questions. Given the power of the political actors, Adani may still stage a comeback. Yet to us in Goa, it seems to become crystal clear that our very own Government is nothing more that the servant of its masters in Delhi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao