New Delhi: After the Narendra Modi government cold-shouldered Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, India Inc rolled out the red carpet for him in the country’s financial capital.
Bezos, who was in India for a high-profile visit, did not get time from top government functionaries.
On top of that, there were stinging comments from a Union Minister telling Amazon that they were not doing a favour by investing a billion dollars in India.
On the other hand, the who’s who of India Inc is seen in the picture with Bezos taken at the staircase of The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai which leads to the fabled ballroom on the left hand side.
There is a parallel narrative going on Bezos who owns the Washington Post getting slammed by BJP functionaries for its editorial policy which they claim paints India in poor light. There are indications that the Washington Post editorial stance cost Bezos the meetings with Indian government honchos.
Eli Lopez, Senior Editor, Global Opinions at the Washington Post and Vijay Chauthaiwale, In-Charge, Foreign Affairs Dept, Bharatiya Janata Party are engaged in a spat on Twitter.
“Mr @JeffBezos , please tell this to your employees in Washington DC. Otherwise your charm offensive is likely to be waste of time and money,” Chauthaiwale wrote.
To which, Lopez responded that Bezos is not telling Washington Post what to write. “Just to clarify: Jeff Bezos doesn’t tell Washington Post journalists what to write. Independent journalism is not about charming governments. But there’s no question the work of our correspondents and columnists fits within India’s democratic traditions.”
“@elopezgross, read my tweet carefully. I never said Bezos should tell WaPo what to write. I just requested him to tell his employees same things what he talked about India in Delhi. Isn’t it reasonable?”, the BJP functionary added.
“Btw , isn’t it true that your desk editor has edited/deleted all anti-Pak references from an invited column by a prominent Indian columnist, so much that he withdrew the article from WaPo and published it somewhere else?” he retorted indicating a slant.
Lopez replied: “That’s not true. We have published many articles critical of Pakistan. But some writers don’t like to be edited. They expect publications to post what they write untouched, unchallenged. If a writer doesn’t want to go through our rigorous process, they’re welcome to go elsewhere.”
“Don’t give sermons. I am asking specific case of prominent Indian columnist. Either confirm or deny. Btw, your silence will be construed as confirmation,” the BJP functionary continued.
“I see you have no problem telling this Washington, DC, employee what to do or how what I write should be interpreted. You don’t need any help,” Lopez added.
“Means you are accepting that WaPo has indeed done it. I rest my case,” Chauthaiwale said.
On the final day of his three-day trip to India, Bezos and Amazon held a roundtable with business leaders.
The business leaders who attended the meeting were a mix of business partners, FMCG companies, bankers and others. The list for people invited for the interaction included Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, Adi Godrej, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, Infosys’ former CEO N.R. Narayan Murthy.
Narayan Murthy is a business partner with Amazon as his Catamaran has a stake in Cloudtail, the largest seller on Amazon.
The others included Infosys CEO Salil Parekh, Kishore Biyani of Future Retail, which has recently done a tie-up with Amazon. BS Nagesh of Shopper’s Stop was also present with Amazon having recently acquired 5 per cent stake in it.
The FMCG biggies were present in full strength with Amazon being aggressive on the grocery and staples space. Sanjiv Mehta of Unilever, Suresh Narayan of Nestle, and Madhusudan Gopalan of Procter and Gamble were there.
Also, present were the bankers and financial services CEOs – Rajnish Kumar of SBI, Surendra Rosha of HSBC, Kaku Nakhate of Bank of America and Sanjiv Bajaj of Bajaj Finance.
No executive from Tata or Birla, however, attended the meeting.
The mobile phone partners were also in full strength with William Kim of Samsung, Pete Lau of One Plus, and Manu Jain of Xiaomi. Also present were Bhavish Agarwal of Ola, Ajay Bahl of AZB, Sumeet Narang of Samara Capital.
Senior Reliance group honcho Manoj Modi was also present at the Amazon round table.