There are many unkind names one could call Subramanian Swamy but boring isn’t one of them. In 1976, at the height of the Emergency, as a Jana Sangh Rajya Sabha legislator, he walked in Parliament at the time the list of obituaries was being read out and announced, “Mr Speaker, you’ve left out democracy, which has also died." Before the security staff could move in and arrest him, Swamy had slipped out.
Though he is a brilliant academic and economist, Swamy has, for the past decade, kept the spotlight on himself not because his smarts but his bizarreness. In 2011, he wrote an article which called for Indian Muslims to be disenfranchised – which in turn led to Harvard University firing him (he taught a summer course there).
He has a large fan following on Twitter, where he occasionally issues extremely bigoted messages about minorities such as Muslims and homosexuals. He is also given to tirades against Sonia Gandhi, who he has nicknamed Vishkanya, venom woman.
Swamy’s large right-wing appeal, anti-Muslim tirades and odium against the Gandhi appeals to large parts of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s base and in April, the party made him a Rajya Sabha member. Unfortunately, Swamy is not one to be tied to hierarchy and while he did attack Sonia Gandhi (leading to much praise from right-wing circles) in the next instant, he had turned around to write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for the highly acclaimed governor of the Reserve Bank of India Raghuram Rajan to be fired because of he isn’t “mentally fully Indian” and therefore part of a “deliberate attempt to wreck the Indian economy”.
As “proof” of his theory Swamy held that that Rajan held a green card, a residence permit in the United States. That could simply be explained by the fact that Rajan teaches at an American university.
Even as the BJP squirmed, social media had a ball picking on this latest absurdity.