MUMBAI: Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani has endorsed Congress’s Milind Deora for the Mumbai South seat, which is scheduled to vote on April 29.
The richest banker in Asia, Uday Kotak, too has declared his support for Deora. In a video shared by Deora on his Twitter timeline, Ambani says, “Milind is the man for south Mumbai… Having represented South Bombay for 10 years, I believe Milind has in-depth knowledge of the social, economic and cultural ecosystem of south Bombay. Under his leadership, small and big enterprises will flourish in south Bombay.”
It is unusual for industrialists to come out in support of a candidate. Besides, Ambani’s support for Deora comes at a time when Congress has been targeting his brother, Anil, for allegedly benefiting from the Rafale deal.
Mukesh and Anil Ambani are different entities: Deora
Kotak says in the video, “Milind is truly Mumbai ka connection. I genuinely believe Milind understands south Mumbai, his family has been associated with Mumbai for a long time, his family is (an) advocate of trade and industry in New Delhi.” The video also shows other entrepreneurs, traders and ordinary citizens rooting for Deora, who was recently appointed Mumbai city unit president of Congress.
Asked about Ambani’s endorsement at a time Rahul Gandhi had been unrelenting in his attacks on his brother, Deora told TOI, “Mukesh and Anil are different entities, it will be unfair to compare either of them with one another.” He told a TV channel that he was equally proud that he was being endorsed by small traders and paanwallahs.
Son of late Congress leader Murli Deora, Milind is pitted against sitting Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, who had defeated him by a margin of 1.28 lakh votes in 2014. Milind Deora was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2004, when he defeated BJP’s Jaywantiben Mehta by a margin of 10,000 votes. In the 2009 elections, he defeated Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Bala Nandgaonkar by a margin of 1.12 lakh votes, with Shiv Sena’s Mohan Rawle relegated to the third position.
Deora has this time been receiving support from trade and business quarters across south Mumbai. The Stainless Steel Merchants Association, the Bullion, Gems and Jewellery Association of Zaveri Bazaar, the Diamond Merchants Federation and other leading trade groups have extended their support to him. At a recently organised event at the Bharat Diamond Bourse, Bharat Shah showered praise on Deora, saying Mumbai needed a leader like him who was accessible round the clock.
Source: Times of India