While the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to want to silence its loose cannon in the Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is set to discuss issues that the MP has raked up recently.
At a meeting scheduled to be held at Kanpur next month, the RSS will deliberate on the disquiet within the Sangh Parivar on what an RSS official referred to as the Modi government’s “love for FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] and the United States” – issues Swamy has used to target the country’s top economic functionaries.
No loose cannon
Swamy recently led a highly-personal attack on Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan, which included an accusation that Rajan was an American agent. His campaign culminated in Rajan announcing that he would be leaving the central bank when his tenure ended in September. Swamy then went after the government’s Chief Economic Adviser, Arvind Subramanian, and has also been sniping at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
The attack on Subramanian came a day after the Union government approved 100% FDI in the defence, civil aviation, food and pharmaceutical sectors. The nature of the attack was similar to that against Rajan – that Subramanian worked for US interests and against India’s.
The all-India conclave of the RSS’ prant pracharaks, scheduled from July 12-15, is significant not only because it will discuss the government’s decision to relax FDI norms in several sectors but also because it will be held days before the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which begins in the third week of July.
According to a senior office bearer of the RSS, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch – three wings of the Sangh dealing with economic issues – have been asked to present their points of view on FDI at the RSS meeting.
The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch has already expressed its displeasure at the FDI announcement. “Opening up sectors like retail, defence and pharma to FDI and by relaxing norms is betrayal to the people of the country,” said Ashwani Mahajan, the national co-convener of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, soon after the Centre made its FDI announcement last Monday.
Mahajan added: “In doing so, this government has not done good to the country in general and local businessmen in particular.”
In fact, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch are so enraged at the FDI decision that they have threatened to launch protests against it.
There is a feeling among the powerful Swadeshi lobby in the RSS that the decision to relax FDI norms was taken to benefit American companies looking to enter India. That the RSS wants to listen to any criticism its affiliates have of the government’s policies shows that the Swadeshi lobby is determined to create trouble for the ruling dispensation.
“What Subramanian Swamy has been saying is exactly what the Swadeshi lobby of the RSS wants the government to listen,” said the RSS office-bearer. “Simply because he doesn’t share the government’s love for FDI and the United States does not mean that he should not be given a proper hearing.”
So though the ruling dispensation and the BJP brass are upset with Swamy’s barbs, the RSS wants to stress on the substance in the party MP’s utterances.
Through a series of tweets posted on June 22, Swamy alleged that Arvind Subramanian acted against Indian interests.
The Finance Ministry quickly came to the defence of its Chief Economic Adviser, which is when Swamy indirectly attacked Jaitley. When newspapers published Jaitley’s photos in a lounge suit at an official meeting in Beijing, Swamy tweeted on Friday: “BJP should direct our ministers to wear traditional and modernised Indian clothes while abroad. In coat and tie they look like waiters.”