Feb 1, 2023
'Adani, Adani' Heckles in Parliament Interrupt India Budget Speech
(Bloomberg) -- Read our India budget live blog for updates and analysis.
India Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech was briefly interrupted by chants of “Adani, Adani” from the opposition benches, as an ongoing fight between tycoon Gautam Adani and a US short seller surfaced in parliament.
Adani’s conglomerate has cast the allegations of “fraud” by Hindenburg Research as an attack on India. The chanting in the lower house highlighted an issue opposition lawmakers have raised several times before: the close ties between the billionaire and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The government is laying out its last full-year budget before Modi seeks a third term in office in elections due in less than 15 months. Opposition lawmakers from several parties have said they will raise the issue in parliament.
The government has so far remained silent on the matter. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, earlier this week said the issue would be discussed as per the rules of parliament, but gave no other details.
Adani has portrayed Hindenburg’s charges as an attack on his home country in a bid to garner support from nationalists. He has often aligned his businesses with Modi’s development goals, building capital-intensive infrastructure such as ports and airports.
Lawmakers from the opposition chanted the billionaire’s name as the Sitharaman discussed ports and other infrastructure projects in her budget presentation. She ignored the heckling and continued with her speech.
India Budget Seeks to Boost Capital Spending to Aid Growth (1)
“This is not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India,” Adani Group said in its 413-page response Sunday.
Hindenburg said the response failed to answer most of its questions and “predictably tried to lead the focus away from substantive issues and instead stoked a nationalist narrative.”
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