Swamy will dent Modi’s image, spook foreign investors

As long as he was targeting the Nehru-Gandhis, he was perceived as someone serving the BJP’s cause. But no longer. Now it is suspected, as the Congress has pointed out, that his real target is Arun Jaitley who, the grapevines suggest, is not a favourite of the genuine saffronites.

Narendra Modi’s Alpha-male image of a domineering individual, a la Barabara Cartland’s romantic fiction, has been severely dented by the antics of Subramanian Swamy, a seemingly out-of-control saffron gadfly.

Initially presumed to have been elevated to the ranks of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs to needle the Nehru-Gandhis in parliament, Swamy has veered off the designated course, like an authentic maverick, and is now picking off one target after another — Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan first and Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian next.

Swamy has succeeded in discomfiting Rajan sufficiently with his charges of the banker not being fully an Indian, as he is a Green Card holder, and also acting at the behest of the US multinationals to damage the Indian small and medium industries.

There is not an iota of proof in what Swamy has been saying, but that is the way loose cannons operate. However, the unsubstantiated allegations were sharp enough to get under Rajan’s skin, making him decide not to seek a second term.

Evidently, an economist of his stature was not going to allow a common or garden-variety meddler to make insulting insinuations for long. Rajan’s expectation may have been for the government to come to the defence of an “employee”, as Swamy calls the governor of a widely respected autonomous institution.

But, apart from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s disapproval of personal attacks, there was not a squeak from the others. The prime minister even told the Wall Street Journal that it wasn’t the media’s business to be interested in the tenures of central bankers.

If anything, the dismissive remark suggested that he was on Swamy’s side, although the fact that Modi does not hold press conferences probably means that he believes that nothing should be of interest to the media any way.

However, it is when Swamy trained his guns on Arvind Subramanian that Jaitley jumped to the latter’s defence by asserting how valuable the adviser is.

A BJP spokesman also said that the party does not agree with Swamy’s views and that they were “completely his personal opinion”.


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