New Delhi : BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had trains his guns on Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian yesterday and demanded his sacking, has again launched a scathing attack on the CEC thorough micro-blogging site twitter.
“As to US Cong: US initiatives by discriminating against India companies and exert pressure on India to open up” AS 13/13/13 !.If an Indian ?,held patriotic,can advise a foreign nation where he works, to twist India’s arm, is to be forgiven,then I suspend my demand,” Swamyn said in a series of tweets attacking the chief economic adviser on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday,Subramanian Swamy trained his guns on chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian,sending the Narendra Modi government scurrying from a boomberang it had launched on other and making many wonder who was guiding the so-called unguided missile.
ISRO yesterday launched as many as 20 satellites in one go through its PSLV C- 34 rocket in Shriharikota but the thunder was stolen by Subramanian, Swamy,s tweets aginst the chief economic adviser.
Swamy, the one-man army demolition squad who was rewarded with a Rajya Sabha berth,demanded that the government sack the other Subramanian, the Harvard-educate economist, for voicing ideas that were inimical to India’s intrests.
The attack came at a time reports suggested that Subramanian had emerged as a key contender for the top post at the Reserve Bank of India after incumbent Raghuram Rajan announced his decision to return to academia in the US.
Rajan was also a target of Swamy, although speculation is rife that the political gadfly was either acting on behalf of sections of the RSS or at least enjoyed the protection of the Sangh.
Even before the dust had settled on the Rajan controversy, Swamy launched his acerbic attack against the chief economic adviser with a burst of tweets early morning on Wednesday.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley came out in strong defence of his colleague. “The government has full confidence in the chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian. His advice to the government from time to time has been of great value,” the minister told a media conference after a cabinet meeting where a host of economic decisions were taken.
A seething Jaitley also cautioned fellow politicians against making attacks against officials unable to publicly defend themselves because of civil service rules. “The party has said that they don’t share Dr Swamy’s view. I will also add one more fact that from a point of view of discipline of Indian politicians… to what extent should we attack those, the discipline and constraints of whose offices prevent them from responding. And this has happened more than once,” he said.
BJP media cell chief Shrikant Sharma called Swamy’s view “completely his personal opinion” which the party did not concur with.
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh poured oil into the fire by tweeting: “Target is Arun Jaitley, not Arvind Subramanian.”
Jaitley refused to comment, asked if Swamy’s attack was actually being directed at him and his handling of the finance ministry’s bailiwick.
But Swamy struck again in the afternoon, springing a nationalist card.
“I have never said I speak on behalf of BJP on AS (Arvind Subramanian), but as a nationalist shocked that a GoI (Government of India) person would urge US Cong to fix India,” Swamy tweeted.
Swamy found a willing ally in the Sangh fraternity. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch national joint convener, Ashwani Mahajan, tweeted: “Don’t u think there is enough reason to sack @arvind Subramanian?” and tagged Modi, Jaitley and commerce and industries minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Nirmala had also spoken out against Subramanian, a detail Mahajan tactically dredged up on his Twitter page.
Swamy’s tweets on Subramanian questioned his commitment to India by highlighting his pro-US stand on drug patent rights voiced three years ago.
“Who said to US Cong on 13/3/13 the US should act against India to defend US Pharmaceuticals interests? Arvind Subramanian MoF!! Sack him!!!” Swamy tweeted. MoF stands for the ministry of finance.
Subramanian became the chief economic adviser to the Indian government only in October 2014.
Swamy’s tweet tagged a media report from October 2014 that said Subramanian had urged the US to initiate disputes against India before the World Trade Organisation if Delhi did not change its patent laws that barred global pharmaceutical companies from securing patent tenure extensions by tweaking drug formulations.
But Subramanian, in a signed piece for the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2013, had defended India’s record in global patent cases.
In his testimony before the US Congress, Subramanian had contended that India could only be termed deviant from global norms by testing its law and rulings through impartial international adjudication by the WTO. He implicitly rejected US Congressmen’s demand for unilateral action against India on patents.
Within minutes, Swamy went haring off in another direction by accusing Subramanian of advising the Congress to harden its stand on the goods and services tax (GST). “Guess who encouraged Cong to become rigid on GST clauses? Jaitley’s economic adviser Arvind Subramanian of Washington DC,” said Swamy’s second tweet.
In December last year, Subramanian had said that the proposed 1 per cent additional tax on inter-state trade would have a cascading effect and defeat the purpose of creating a pan-India common market. The Modi government has already said that it was open to the idea of dropping this proposal.
The Congress, however, has been insisting that the government should spell out the standard GST rate in the constitutional amendment – which is the bigger sticking point that has stalled the legislation.
Congress circles said they had never been in touch with Subramanian on the GST or on any other issue.
The contours of the unfolding brawl have made some wonder whether the Sangh or business lobbies are fighting a proxy battle through Swamy.
Rajan’s exit was widely attributed to the machinations of the Sangh although its leaders have denied any hand.
The changes in foreign direct investment rules, announced by the Centre on Monday, were initially interpreted as a damage-control measure to cushion the impact of Rajan’s announcement.
But the decisions are now also being seen as a shot by Modi across the bows of the Sangh armada. Sangh affiliates’ stated position on most of the changes, including in food processing that may offer some leeway to foreign retail giants, does not match with that of the government.
Modi has always been ambiguous on FDI in retail, a pet hate of the swadeshi brigade, retaining room for manoeuvre and now perhaps using it as a handle to rile the Sangh.
But a BJP leader insisted: “The FDI decisions were not done just like that as a reflex action. They were taken some time back. The announcement was incidental. I have reasons to believe that there were consultations with our ‘vichar parivar’ (ideological family). The RSS knows where our national interests lie, therefore, it will never interfere in critical policy matters.”
Asked whether Swamy would have gone so far without the blessings of the Sangh eminences, Mahajan, the manch leader and a swayamsevak (volunteer), said: “Make no mistake. The Sangh will not say a word against Swamy.”
Outgoing RBI chief Rajan’s stress on bad loans at an Assocham meet today in Bangalore has also fuelled speculation whether industrialists tagged wilful loan defaulters had played any role in torpedoing the extension of his term. “For fraudsters,
quick and effective investigation by the investigative agencies is extremely important. We should send the message that no one can get away, and I am glad that the Prime Minister’s Office is pushing prosecution of large frauds,” Rajan said in Bangalore.