BJP's Dilemma: An Upset Finance Minister, But Curbing Swamy Won't Be Easy - SANGBAD PRAHARI


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June 27, 2016

BJP's Dilemma: An Upset Finance Minister, But Curbing Swamy Won't Be Easy


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is reportedly upset with his party for not condemning Subramanian Swamy's volley of attacks on his aides. Mr Jaitley has returned to Delhi from an official trip to China at a time when Mr Swamy's tirade is being seen as a thinly-disguised campaign against the minister himself, rather than his advisers.

Mr Swamy has in the past advertised his own suitability for Finance Minister.

After being nominated by the ruling BJP to the Rajya Sabha in April, Mr Swamy claimed credit for "Rexit" - surprise decision by Raghuram Rajan to opt out of seeking a second term as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. Mr Swamy in letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that Mr Rajan's green card exhibited that he is "mentally not fully Indian" and that his refusal to drop interest rates has wilfully hurt the economy.

Last week, Mr Swamy, 76, flagrantly used Twitter to attack Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, who is the top aide to the Finance Minister, accusing him of siding with the US in a row over intellectual property rights before he joined the government.

Mr Swamy's criticism met with a rare return of fire from Mr Jaitley, who told reporters that it is unfair to attack those in government "whose discipline and constraints of office restrain them from responding". In a tweet, the minister also countered Mr Swamy's ire against another aide, Shaktikanta Das, describing it as "an unfair and false attack on a disciplined civil servant" in the Finance Ministry.

But Mr Jaitley, sources say, is also distressed that BJP spokespersons have refused on record to chastise Mr Swamy, whose opinions have been stressed as personal by BJP president Amit Shah.Sources say that a section of the BJP is convinced that Mr Swamy must be reined in because the spectacle he creates with his targeting of officers is detracting from the image of the government as focused on development and delivery of governance. However, they say, action against him would allow the opposition to claim that the BJP is a house divided, while also giving Mr Swamy more ground to attack individuals because he will then not beobliged to follow party rules for discipline - an option Mr Swamy alluded to in this tweet on Friday:
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