New Delhi: Shortly after the news of the government wanting to sell its stake in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports emerged, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi trained his guns on the ruling party with #IndiaAgainstPrivatisation on Twitter. In a veiled attack against the government's decision to hand over six airports to Adani Enterprises, Gandhi said, "#IndiaAgainstPrivatisation which hurts the public and benefits only a handful of cronies (sic.)." He remarked that the BJP government at the Centre does not know how to build, but knows only how to sell.
Adani Enterprises entered the aviation business after winning six airports owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in 2018 — Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru. After securing these airports, Adani Enterprises went from being a newbie to India's third-largest airport operator in a jiffy. Later, when the company acquired 23.5 percent stake in Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) from ACSA Global (ACSA) and Bid Services Division (Mauritius), or Bidvest, it became India's largest private airport operator. The quick ascent of the company elicited severe backlash from various quarters, because the prime argument used by the government to push for privatisation was that it would bring in competition and better services for consumers.
The Centre is set to undertake the next phase of airport privatisation with a plan to put up 13 airports on offer, sources have said.
The Congress leader's jibe against privatisation of airports comes days after it emerged that business tycoon Gautam Adani beat billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in adding more billions to his wealth on the back of investor excitement around his ports-to-power plants conglomerate. Adani, who is a first-generation billionaire and entrepreneur, recorded a jump of $16.2 billion in 2021 to settle $50 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. This made Adani the world's biggest wealth gainer in 2021, beating Bezos and Musk. The surge in the tycoon's wealth also overshadowed the $8.1 billion added Asia's richest person, Mukesh Ambani.
Adani has been expanding his business verticals rapidly across sectors like, ports, airports, data centres and coal mines.
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