The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 27 , 2014
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Eye-catchers: Ambani matriarch & Adani

Rashmi Thackeray, wife of Uddhav Thackeray, with (right) Nita Ambani at Narendra Modi’s swearing-in

New Delhi, May 26: Corporate representation had its pride of place, like never before, at the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.

Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita were seated in the third row with a ringside view of the proceedings, only one row behind top admirals and army generals. Initiating their sons into a world where politics and business go hand-in-hand, the couple’s sons, Akash and Anant, were seated next in the same enclosure.

Industrialist Anil Ambani with actress Poonam Dhillon

The other Ambani offspring, Anil, too was in attendance. But then, Anil did something that no other captain of industry could have pulled off to draw attention to himself: he not only came with his wife Tina, but they were accompanied by the respected matriarch of the family, Dhirubhai’s widow Kokilaben.

Representatives of organisations speaking for businesses, both big and small, were represented prominently. They too had ringside views of the formation of a new central government.

Anil Ambani with mother Kokilaben at the swearing-in

These organisations rose to the occasion by sending people who were presentable rather than substantive.

Gautam Adani, who had allegedly enjoyed Modi’s patronage when he was Gujarat chief minister, was not shying away from the new Prime Minister’s past association with his conglomerate. He did not go into hiding, but was showing off his newly-toned businesses. Adani was accompanied by his wife.

Other prominent industrialists who attended the event were Kumar Mangalam Birla, telecom czar Sunil Mittal, Jet Airways owner Naresh Goyal, and Essar group chairman Shashi Ruia.

Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita on Monday. Pictures by Rajesh Kumar and PTI

On the other hand, there were absentees who became talking points. They included Tata group’s emeritus chairman Ratan Tata, Wipro boss Azim Premji, Infosys chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy and HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh.

Many invitees were surprised by the representation of minorities. Easily the most colourful guest at Rashtrapati Bhavan was Yulio, the head of the Jacobite denomination of Christians in Gujarat.

Industrialists Mukesh Ambani and (right) Gautam Adani on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. (PTI)

Resplendent in a colourful red church apparel he prefers the term Orthodox to his church rather than Jacobite.

Dawoodi Bohras from Gujarat were also in attendance at the ceremony.

Some suspected a swagger among government secretaries. This was ostensibly because civil servants believe that their roles in a Modi government, aiming to deliver, will be bigger than that of ministers.