He then went on to lampoon Jaitely by commenting that Indian leaders dressed in western attire, when they go abroad, looked like ‘waiters’. He made the statement on a day when suit-clad photographs of Jaitely, who was abroad, were published in the newspapers. A fuming Jaitely cut short his China visit and is believed to have met Modi to seek justice.
It is well known that Swamy enjoys proximity to top leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the organisation was behind his nomination for the Upper House. That’s why observers are looking at the controversy as a tussle between Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the one side and the RSS on the other. A similar tussle between RSS and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was witnessed during his tenure at the top job. Though the BJP and its leaders follow the ideology of the RSS, and in fact have their roots in RSS, there has always been a turf war between the two when the BJP is in power.
Swamy had woven his way close to the RSS leadership by constantly hammering at the political rivals Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra. He had been levelling wild allegations against them. It had suited the RSS and the BJP.
Swamy’s latest attack on Jaitely and his finance ministry was obviously not an isolated or unintended diatribe. It was a well thought out plan intended to provoke Jaitely as well as Modi.
Swamy’s proximity to Nagpur also explains why Modi had been rather mild in his criticism and had refrained from naming him. He merely called the comments as inappropriate and a “publicity stunt”. He added that “anyone who believes he is bigger than the system is wrong” evidently sending a message to Swamy.
He also took his party MP, again without naming him, to task for suggesting that Raghuram Rajan was not patriotic. “Rajan’s patriotism is no less than any of ours…..those who speak such language are doing great injustice to him” he said and declared that he appreciated the contributions made by the outgoing RBI governor. Though the rap to Swamy was considered too mild, it appears to have placated Jaitely and had silenced Swamy for a while but Swamy is not the one to lie low for long. Humiliating people has been his forte. Given his reputation as a rabble rouser he is likely to prove a thorn in the flesh of the Modi Government. Watch this space for more news emanating from him.
RSS has sought to distance itself from the perception that it was backing Swamy on the issue. A senior RSS leader, who declined to be named, told a newspaper (TOI) that “RSS will communicate directly with the government on any issue. We don’t need a proxy for any purpose”.
Swamy tweeted on Wednesday : ” I have said before and saying now : Come hell or high water I stand by Modi. I admire his spine. No foreign power can buckle him” (sic)