India Inc mourns Rahul Bajaj's demise

NEW DELHI: The India Inc on Saturday expressed grief over the demise of industrialist Rahul Bajaj.

Rahul Bajaj — the doyen of the Bajaj Group, who made his two-wheelers a household name with the catchy slogan ‘Hamara Bajaj’ — passed away in Pune following prolonged illness. He was 83.

Bajaj had taken charge of the Bajaj Group in 1965, and during his captaincy, the group soared to one of the biggest industries in the sub-continent.

“He was like a father figure to all of us at CII. Not only he guided us on all matters, but he also protected us on so many issues. His leadership was available for just everything. His advise on all critical matters was always available and helped us take the most important decisions at the institution,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, DG, CII.

“For him, it was always the country first – a principle we applied to all our policy advocacy. He was the only person to be CII’s President for two terms in 1979/80 and in 1999/2000. His mentorship would be deeply missed by all at the industry and CII,” Banerjee added.

Bajaj is credited with building the industry lobby, CII, of which he was the President for two terms. Another industry body, Assocham, expressed “heart-felt condolences on the passing away of Shri Rahul Bajaj”. “He championed the cause of India Inc within and outside the country. A great and inspirational leader,” said Assocham Secretary General, Deepak Sood.

Industry body Ficci’s President Sanjiv Mehta said: “FICCI is deeply saddened by the passing away of Rahul Bajaj. The country has lost a tall leader and a leading voice who always spoke fearlessly. He was the outspoken voice for the industry.”

PHDCCI President Pradeep Multani also condoled the demise of Bajaj, saying: “In his passing away, we have not only lost an illustrious business leader who thought about the common man, but the backbone of the Indian industry, one who was far-sighted and outspoken,” Multani said in a statement.

“The far-sighted and outspoken Shri Rahul ‘Hamara’ Bajaj fulfilled the dream of every Indian middle-class family of owning a vehicle with his thoughtful leadership and vision,” he added.

Automobile industry body SIAM’s President Kenichi Ayukawa said: “The entire automobile industry joins me in expressing our deep sorrow on the sad demise of Shri Rahul Bajaj, Chairman Emeritus at Bajaj Auto.

“He was a great industrialist who built an empire on sound principles and left a legacy that makes India proud with presence in several countries.”

The President of Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, Vinkesh Gulati, said: “We at FADA are deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Shri Rahul Bajaj, former Chairman of Bajaj Auto Ltd. The sudden demise of Rahul ji is shocking and also an irreparable loss not only for the automobile industry, but also for the entire nation.

“Rahul ji was always warm towards FADA and any dealer issues which we brought to his notice. When India started opening up its economy, Rahul ji made Bajaj a shining star in India’s growth story.”

Bajaj was a former Rajya Sabha member and was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2001.