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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sucking Up to The Clintons

Lakshmi Mittal made the news in most headlines on Clinton donors by giving over $1millon. Of course Amar Singh, who bought the opposition MPs to keep the incompetent Manmohan government floating for few more months and of course exonirated by self-proclaimed august body of parliment, gave more than a $1millon. One remembers the high profile visit that Bill Clinton made to UP with Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh at his flank. There are a few more. Entire list is here.

There is a stronger-than-expected Indian presence in the donor list. In the $1 million to $5 million category --- specific amounts are not mentioned in the list --- three Indian names appear: steel tycoon Laksmi Mittal, wind power company Suzlon Energy and Samajwadi Party politician Amar Singh.

The Confederation of Indian Industry has given between half a million and a million dollars. Ajit Gulabchand of Hindustan Construction and the late hotelier Lalit Suri wrote Clinton cheques of between $250,000 and $500,000 each. Vinod Gupta, NRI businessmen and an old "Friend of Bill" did likewise.

Between $100,000 and $250,000 was the contribution of at least three Indian companies --- Ranbaxy, Reliance Europe and the India Today Group. Also in this category are Lata Krishnan, a California-based technology fund manager and member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and Mike Patel, former chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.

Having given the Clinton Foundation between $50,000 and $100,000 are the Hinduja Foundation and New York-based lawyer Bal G Das, who was active in Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) politics in the early 1990s.