New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday described RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan “no less patriotic than anyone” and said BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy’s attacks on top Finance Ministry officials were “inappropriate”.
The Prime Minister also dubbed Swamy’s attack on Rajan and top finance ministry officials a “publicity stunt” and in unmistakable terms warned him not to consider himself “bigger than the system”.
“I believe Raghuram Rajan’s patriotism is no less than anyone of us. It will be injustice to him if one says that he will serve the country only if he is at a particular post,” Modi said in an interview to TimesNow news channel.
“Whether it is someone from my party or not, I believe such things are inappropriate. The nation won’t benefit from such publicity stunts. One should be more responsible while conducting themselves. Anyone who believes he is bigger than the system is wrong,” Modi said.
Swamy, who has been critical of Rajan since the formation of the National Democratic Alliance government in 2014, had questioned his patriotism, even saying “he (Rajan) is mentally not fully Indian”. Later, Rajan announced he was not interested in a second term at the Reserve Bank of India.
Modi said: “As much as I know Raghuram Rajan, whatever post he holds, wherever he is, he will continue to serve the country. He is someone who loves his country. He is a person who loves the country. Those who speak such language are doing great injustice to him.”
“My experience with him (Rajan) has been good. I appreciate the work he has done. And my good wishes will always be with him,” Modi said.
Asked if it was appropriate that a Rajya Sabha member attacked Rajan and other government officials despite the fact that the Prime Minister put forth seven ‘mantras’ before Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and workers during a party national executive meet at Allahabad, Modi said: “My message is very clear. I have no confusion about it.”
Modi’s remarks came on the day when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was also upset with Swamy’s remarks, returned from China on late Sunday night, cutting short the visit by a day.
He was to meet Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei on Monday, but the meeting was advanved and held on Sunday itself.
Modi said when his government took over in May 2014, there was a perception that Rajan would not be allowed to complete his term as the RBI governor, but it was proved otherwise.
“There was a strong perception that Rajan would be removed soon after the new government takes over, but this did not happen and he is completing his term,” he said.
Earlier on Sunday, Swamy’s lecture at a Mumbai event to mark the 41st anniversary of the Emergency was cancelled. He was invited as the main speaker.
Sources said this happened after instructions from the central party leaders.
Swamy had demanded the removal of Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and also targeted Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
But, Jaitley defended them and even the BJP distanced itself from Swamy’s remarks.
Jaitley said, “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.”
To that Swamy rather bluntly responded: “Jaitleyji kya bole, kya nahi bole iss se mujhe kya lena dena (What do I have to do with what Jaitley said or did not say). I speak to Prime Minister and the (BJP) party president when required.”