Union finance minister Arun Jaitley broke his silence on BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s offensive against RBI governor Raghuram Rajan saying he did not approve of personal comments against anyone.
Jaitley’s response came after Swamy on Thursday shot off a second letter in less than a fortnight to Prime Minister Narendra Modi levelling six allegations against Rajan and seeking his dismissal. However, the Congress dismissed it as “meek” defence of RBI governor saying Swamy’s attack was an assault on the institutional mechanisms in India.
The finance minister said the RBI was an important institution which made its own judgments. “One can agree or disagree with their judgment but that’s a debate on issues. But, I don’t think we should allow a public discourse where instead of debate on issues we concentrate on debate on persons,” Jaitley told a television channel.
He was reacting to Swamy’s letter which said that the allegations against Rajan were “prima facie true” and required terminating the services as RBI governor immediately in “national interest”.
The Congress questioned the Prime Minister’s silence on the issue. “Otherwise it seems that Swamy has been unleashed on the RBI governor by design. Saying that we disapprove of personal attacks on RBI governor is not enough. Why has the Prime Minister not come out and spoken against the unprecedented attack on the governor? Otherwise it seems a design to unleash Swamy on the RBI governor,”said Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari.
According to Swamy, Rajan’s insistence on raising the interest rates led to recession in domestic and small and medium industries and thereby causing not only a sharp decline in output but also a massive unemployment of semi-skilled labour. Swamy went to the extent of accusing him of being anti-national in intent as being a profressor of finance he ought to have known the consequence of high interest rate.
The diatribe against Rajan also referred to his “innuendos”, “holding on to his green card” and being a member of the US dominated Group of 30.
“Despite being a government official he has been publicly disparaging of the BJP government. For example, he has by innuendos in effect held our government responsible for the climate of intolerance in the country. In a Washington Meet recently he disparaged the growth rate of India as being equal to a cockeyed person in the land of blind persons,” Swamy said adding that this was a violation of the rules governing public officials.
Swamy also alleged that he has been sending confidential and sensitive financial information using his Chicago University email id to various persons around the world and said it was “reckless disregard of the national security interests of India.” He said Rajan insisted on permitting Sharia compliant financial institutions although there is no such provision in the RBI Act.
In his letter on May 17, Modi had asked the PM to dismiss him saying he was “mentally not fully Indian” and had “wilfully wrecked”the economy.
Congress’s Tiwari said that it sent the message from the ruling dispensation “that if you do not play ball with us, if you do not move in tandem with us, then we will hound you, we will come after you. The intention is very simple: that if you are a self-respecting man, you will possibly put in your papers and go and then we will be saved of the embarrassment of having not to renew your term. This is the worst form of fascism and the oldest trick in the fascist movement.”