By: Shubham Ghosh
Senior Indian minister Smriti Irani on Friday (17) urged the people of India to unitedly respond to ‘foreign powers who try to intervene in India’s democratic processes’ in response to billionaire Hungarian-American businessman George Soros’s remarks that the recent troubles in the stock market involving Indian tycoon Gautam Adani would ‘spark democratic revival in India’ and prime minister Narendra Modi will ‘have to answer questions’.
Irani, who is a member of Modi’s cabinet and in charge of the minority affairs and women and child development ministries, called the remark of the 92-year-old Soros a ‘declaration to destroy India’s democratic processes’.
She said Indians have defeated such ‘foreign powers’ who tried to meddle with the country’s internal affairs in the past and will do again.
“I urge every Indian to give a fitting reply to George Soros,” the minister said.
The firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader launched a scathing attack on Soros, saying he is a designated ‘economic war criminal’ who declared his ill-intention towards India.
“The man who broke the Bank of England, and is designated by the nation an economic war criminal, has now pronounced his desire to break Indian democracy. George Soros, an international entrepreneur, has declared his ill-intention to intervene in democratic processes of India,” Irani said.
She said such powers try to trigger the collapse of governments in other countries to ensure ‘their hand-picked people’ stay in power.
“It is evident from his statements that he has pronounced funding over one billion dollars particularly to target leaders like PM Modi is significant,” she said, referring to the billionaire investor known for breaking the Bank of England in the early 1990s.
“PM Modi has repeatedly said that he can take criticism, but an attempt on India will not be tolerated,” Irani said, adding that this is a ‘war’ and Modi is the only one who stands between the foreign powers and the citizens.
The minister warned political organisations that may back the billionaire for his ‘attack’ on the PM.
“Any political organisation that matches steps with George Soros will stand exposed in front of the Indian electorate,” Irani said.
Jairam Ramesh, senior member of the opposition Indian National Congress which has been attacking the Modi government over the Adani fiasco, said the party had ‘nothing to do with George Soros’ and whether the controversy would ‘spark democratic revival’ depended on the Congress, opposition parties and India’s electoral process.
Whether the PM-linked Adani scam sparks a democratic revival in India depends entirely on the Congress, Opposition parties & our electoral process. It has NOTHING to do with George Soros. Our Nehruvian legacy ensures people like Soros cannot determine our electoral outcomes.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) February 17, 2023
“Whether the PM-linked Adani scam sparks a democratic revival in India depends entirely on the Congress, Opposition parties & our electoral process. It has NOTHING to do with George Soros. Our Nehruvian legacy ensures people like Soros cannot determine our electoral outcomes,” the veteran parliamentarian tweeted.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, a leader of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, questioned why the BJP was doing a press conference on Soros and asked whether Irani had any comment to make on an Israeli agency’s alleged interference in India’s political process.
She was presumably referring to Israel’s NSO Group’s spyware ‘Pegasus’ which caused a huge political storm in India in recent times over allegations of snooping on unsuspecting citizens, journalists, and politicians.
“Who is George Soros and why is BJP’s Troll Mantralaya doing an entire press conference dedicated to him? BTW, Mantriji any comment on an Israel agency’s interference in India’s electoral process? That is a bigger threat to India’s democracy,” Chaturvedi tweeted.
Who is George Soros and why is BJP ‘s Troll Mantralaya doing an entire press conference dedicated to him?
BTW, Mantriji any comment on an Israel agency’s interference in India’s electoral process? That is a bigger threat to India’s democracy.
— Priyanka Chaturvedi🇮🇳 (@priyankac19) February 17, 2023
Soros, while delivering a speech at the 2023 Munich Security Conference on Thursday (16), predicted that the Indian prime minister will be weakened by the business troubles of the Adani Group after US-based short-seller Hindenburg released a report accusing the group of stock manipulation, “opening the door” to a democratic revival in the country.
Modi would “have to answer questions” from foreign investors and parliament on allegations of fraud and stock manipulation at Adani’s industrial empire, the veteran tycoon said, noting that the Indian leader had been “silent” on the topic.
“Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies; their fate is intertwined,” Soros had said, adding, “Adani Enterprises tried to raise funds in the stock market, but he failed. Adani is accused of stock manipulation and his stock collapsed like a house of cards. Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament.”
Soros, who established the Open Society Foundations to ‘promote democratic governance’, said Modi “is no democrat”, alleging that “inciting violence against Muslims was an important factor in his meteoric rise”.