Our Bureau

Mumbai, Aug. 3

THE 31st AGM of Reliance Industries Ltd was not without its share of melodrama, with Mr Anil Ambani, providing much of the substance.

The younger Ambani played on the emotions of the shareholders saying he counted himself fortunate that he was amongst them as an ordinary shareholder.

"This is an emotional day for me... I leave this organisation with a heavy heart, with a deep and abiding sense of personal loss. For me, life will never be the same again. But change is inevitable", Mr Anil said, after being invited to speak by his elder brother Mr Mukesh.

He wished his elder brother good luck in his endeavour to take Reliance to `even greater heights'.

At one point of time, Mr Anil asked the gathering of shareholders to give a standing ovation to his mother, Ms Kokilaben Ambani.

However, he did not miss the opportunity to underline the fact that all the shareholders of RIL would in some way also become stakeholders in the companies that he has been designated to head.

"I welcome you to the new Reliance. Create a little space in your hearts for the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises," he said and left the auditorium abruptly.

The exit had the desired effect as many shareholders were heard shouting out his name, pleading with him not to leave Reliance.

There was also a minor scuffle with journalists as he left the AGM venue. Soon, messages began trickling in, mostly through SMS, that Mr Anil Ambani would be holding a separate press conference later in the day.

Mr Mukesh Ambani sat through the emotional scenes trying to keep a cheery demeanour. However, when he alluded to his three years as Chairman of the company, following his father's death, there were some wet eyes in the auditorium.

Ms Kokilaben was seen wiping her eyes as Mukesh attributed the market cap enhancement from Rs 34,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000 crore during the period as a tribute to the memory of Dhirubhai Ambani.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 4, 2005)
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