Donald Trump has shaken the US Presidential election calculations. Trump is # 1 in the polls for the Republicans and has been this whole summer. His business success, and his being aggressive on issues like immigration, trade with China and Mexico have propelled him to the top-tier of the Republican primaries. He has the ability to generate a lot of attention. 26 million Americans tuned in for the Republican Primary debate which is unheard of, and a large part of it is Trump.
On his political journey, he has also amassed a lot of critics i.e. the Latino community, women (his comments about Rosie O’Donnell) etc. I was wondering if there is someone in India who is a very successful business leader and also has the ability to say things that are on his mind. Someone who is not afraid to make enemies. It was hard as business people try not to be political, or to make political enemies. However, in my opinion, Rahul Bajaj is the Trump of India.
Before fans of Rahul Bajaj get really angry, let me clarify that there are similarities in a lot of areas but there are some differences too. Bajaj is one of the most successful business person in the country. He has been an MP and dabbles in politics, and likes to say things he likes, and does not mince words or try to be politically correct. He took on the Manmohan Singh Government and now he has reprimanded the Modi Government for the slow speed of reforms.
The industrialist and Rajya Sabha member, Bajaj is known to be an admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but he did not hesitate on using strong words for the NDA government. He was quoted as saying that “NDA is losing the sheen it came with after its win in the Lok Sabha polls ” In context to the new black money bill that opened a three-month window Bajaj was not happy with this inititative and felt that the business community was getting anxious that the declaration would not guarantee protection from future prosecution.
Bajaj was also direct when it came down to the Manmohan Singh government bailing out Kingfisher Airlines, and he spoke out against any state aid to rescue the liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s expensive airlines. His argument: “I am a proud private sector man and I don’t see any logic in bailing out any private sector company either for the sake of employees or customers”. Recently, Bajaj voiced his opinion saying, “Misdirected and wrongly implemented socio-economic policies have dragged India far behind many countries like China and South Korea.” He says, “Quality has to be improved and the cost has to be brought down to create terror among competitors.”
The differences: Bajaj does not belittle his opponents or vast sections of a community like Trump tends to do. However, Bajaj is admired for saying out loud what is on the minds of a lot of businessmen, and especially Indians who are afraid of political retribution. Bajaj does not seem to care much. Do you think Bajaj resembles Trump?
Share your thoughts with me.
Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.