Earlier today, Union Minister Smriti Irani slammed the remarks made by billionaire investor George Soros on Thursday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be weakened by the business troubles of Gautam Adani in light of the Hindenburg report alleging Adani Group of ‘stock manipulation’ among other claims.
Who is George Soros?
George Soros is a Hungarian-American philanthropist and businessman. He was born in Hungary in 1930 and lived through the Nazi occupation of 1944–1945, according to details available on his website. He is famously known in the UK as the man who broke the Bank of England by betting against the British pound. A report by Forbes stated that Soros shorted the British pound in 1992 and reportedly made a profit of $1 billion.
According to his website, he founded the Open Society Foundations which is a network of foundations, partners, and projects in more than 100 countries. "He has given away more than $32 billion of his personal fortune to fund the Open Society Foundations’ work around the world," the website said.
Among those that the foundation supported are individuals and organizations across the globe fighting for freedom of expression, accountable government, and societies that promote justice and equality, the website said. "The foundations have also provided school and university fees for thousands of promising students who would otherwise have been excluded from opportunities because of their identity or where they live," it added.
What did he say about Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
On Thursday, George Soros during his nearly 42-minute speech at the Munich Security Conference said that PM Modi has remained silent thus far on the matter of allegations of fraud and stock manipulation at Adani's industrial empire. The PM would "have to answer questions" by foreign investors and parliament, he said, adding that he expects a "revival of democracy in India".
He also said, "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...This will significantly weaken Modi’s stranglehold on India’s federal government and open the door to push for much-needed institutional reforms."
This is not the first time that George Soros has remarked against the PM. In 2020, he criticised PM Modi for creating a “Hindu nationalist state” while delivering his address at the World Economic Forum meeting at Davos. “Nationalism, far from being reversed, made further headway," said Soros, adding that the biggest and “most frightening setback" was in India.
"...a democratically elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship," the Hungarian-born billionaire said making a reference to the protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) across India.
Anger from BJP
His comments invited anger from BJP leaders including Smriti Irani who said that the billionaire "makes such pronouncements to demolish Indian democracy so that his handpicked people run the government in the country." She also alleged that Soros created a fund of over USD one billion to intervene in democratic systems, including in India.
VIDEO | BJP's @smritiirani slams George Soros for his criticism of PM Modi on the Adani issue, terming the billionaire investor's comments as a 'declaration to destroy India's democratic processes'. pic.twitter.com/cxeqeAzy5b— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) February 17, 2023
Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said that the faces behind repeated regime change stands exposed. "...India's enemies are many: George Soros leads the pack. Democracy in India is strong, resilient. 2024 is not too far away and Soros will eat crow again," he tweeted.
Face behind repeated ‘regime change’ attempts in India with collaborators paid by The Open Society Foundations stands exposed.— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) February 17, 2023
India’s enemies are many: George Soros leads the pack.
Democracy in India is strong, resilient. 2024 is not too far away and Soros will eat crow again. pic.twitter.com/lLHjMvie21
He further said that the Munich Security Conference (MSS) was a platform for discussing global security challenges and seeking paths to peace and stability, not conflict.
(With inputs from PTI)