In a letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in December last year, billionaire businessman Anil Ambani reminded the Congress scion of the legacy of his late father Dhirubhai Ambani, the Indian business tycoon. The self-made businessman's story of how he went on from working in a petrol pump to founding India's largest business house, Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Group, is widely known in India.
The main purpose of Anil Ambani's letter was to justify his company Reliance Defence's credentials for being chosen as the Indian partner for a joint venture with French Defence major Dassault in the Rafale deal between India and France.
The letter was sent after Rahul Gandhi, during the Gujarat Assembly elections campaign, accused the Modi government of favouring Anil Ambani's company in the Rafale deal. Rahul Gandhi had asked PM Modi to explain his "Reliance on someone with nil experience in aerospace for the Rafale deal?"
Through a series of sarcastic tweets, Rahul had accused that "Self 'Reliance' is obviously a critical aspect of Make in India".
Ambani expressed his disappointment at Gandhi's statements, especially because the Ambani and the Gandhi families shared a "respectful relationship".
"Nonetheless, considering that my entire family and I, starting with my respected father, late Padma Vishushan Dhirubhai Ambani, have had the privilege of enjoying a very respectful relationship with the Gandhi family as well as the Congress party for the past more than four decades, these statements have saddened and hurt our sentiments," wrote Ambani.
Reminding Rahul Gandhi of how his father, without any formal education, built one of biggest enterprises in the world, Anil Ambani said: "Rahulji, my respected father, without the benefit of even formal education, much less any 'experience' or legacy, built the world's largest integrated petrochemicals and refinery complex here in India and engaged in deep sea oil exploration on our shores, and as a visionary entrepreneur created one of India's largest enterprises."
Ending the letter in Dhirubhai Ambani's words, Anil Ambani said: "You have to be given an opportunity to perform. It's not experience but mindset, dedication and the purpose, of a strong India that should engage us all."
(Edited by Manoj Sharma)