Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates with Mukesh Ambani and his son at the pre-wedding celebrations
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates with Mukesh Ambani and his son at the pre-wedding celebrations

Why was Jamnagar airport given international status for Ambani bash: Congress to PM Modi

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that private jets of guests for Mukesh Ambani’s son’s pre-wedding bash were allowed to use the Indian Air Force’s “technical area” at the Jamnagar airport.

Reacting sharply to reports that the Jamnagar airport in Gujarat was awarded the status of an international airport for 10 days to facilitate the pre-wedding celebrations of industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s son, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh questioned the move and pointed out that the area was sensitive to defence concerns. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen to help out his “rich industrialist friends” while ignoring the needs of ordinary citizens. 

In a social media post, Jairam Ramesh said, “When it comes to helping out his rich industrialist friends, Prime Minister Modi is willing to do anything. For billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s son’s wedding, he has declared Jamnagar airport an international airport for 10 days. He has ordered the doubling of the size of the passenger terminal, with taxpayer’s money, just to make life more convenient for the wedding guests.”

The Congress leader pointed out that the Jamnagar airport was close to the Pakistan border and thus sensitive to defence concerns. However, he alleged that the private jets of Ambani’s wedding guests were allowed to use the Indian Air Force’s “technical area”.

Jamnagar airport, which is primarily a defence airport, also serves commercial flights. According to reports, the Indian Air Force has granted temporary international status to the airport from February 25 to March 5.

Listing out a few examples, the former Union minister said PM Modi had spent his entire political career helping out his billionaire friends. “(Modi) ensured that six out of six airports being privatised went to Adani. He allowed two companies to take over 90% of India’s airline market, and wrote off Rs 14.5 lakh crore in bad loans from corporates. Meanwhile, India’s poor get their homes demolished under the bulldozer raj and farmers have to face bullets for demanding adequate MSP for their crops. India’s rail passengers, overwhelmingly poor and middle class, face 10% annual ticket price hikes, see their sleeper seats removed to make way for AC 1st class seats, and have Rs. 3,700 crore in senior concessions snatched away from them,” the post on X read.

National Congress spokesperson Dr Shama Mohamed alleged discrimination by comparing the Jamnagar airport to the airport in Kerala’s Kannur district. “Jamnagar airport is a defence airport. But it gets international status for Anant Ambani’s pre-wedding bash. Three union ministries have been assigned to the task. The airport passenger building has been expanded & toilets have been renovated. Kannur Airport, which started operations in 2018, does not have Point of Call (no foreign airlines can operate) yet. Isn’t this discrimination?” she said.

The three-day pre-wedding celebrations of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant are being attended by celebrities and politicians from across the world. The wedding bash began on March 1, but the marriage will not take place until July. The guest list included internationally acclaimed singer Rihanna, Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Former Advisor to the US President Ivanka Trump, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Telugu actor Allu Arjun, and cricketers MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, among others. 

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