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Home / Politics / Policy /  Who’s on Subramanian Swamy’s hit list?

On Wednesday morning, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy took to Twitter to target the government’s chief economic adviser (CEA), Arvind Subramanian, demanding his sacking.

Swamy’s move comes less than a week after Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan decided to leave his role, to return to academia, once his three-year term ended in September. Rajan’s decision to not continue in his post has since been blamed on a wave of Swamy-led attacks through letters addressed to the prime minister.

The CEA can take some solace from the fact that he is not alone, and part of an elite company of individuals frequently targeted by Swamy, and his attacks are amplified on internet echo chambers by a loyal army of cheerleaders. In fact, Subramanian is part of a “project", as mentioned by Swamy in a tweet a few days ago. Swamy wrote, “My next project is to expose 27 bureaucrats who are in various ministries and loyal to TDK (sic). They were handpicked and positioned by PC." For those unaware of Swamy’s rather colourful acronyms, TDK (or The Dark Knight) refers to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and unsurprisingly, PC is former finance minister P. Chidambaram.

So who exactly is in the Swamy line of fire?

R3

R3 is Raghuram Rajan (or Raghu Ram Rajan) if you like. Swamy wrote three letters to the Prime Minister demanding his sacking as RBI governor (this was before he quit), where he deemed Rajan “not fully mentally Indian" and therefore unfit for the role. He accused Rajan of an “apparently deliberate attempt to wreck the economy" and that Rajan be sent back to Chicago, where he is a Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the Booth School, University of Chicago. He also requested the PM to constitute a Central Bureau of Investigation-led probe to look into the RBI’s alleged flouting of its own rules while granting 10 small finance bank licences.

The Gandhi family

Swamy’s rather mixed equations with the Gandhi family go back a few decades. Swamy sought Sonia Gandhi’s (or Vishkanyaa as Swamy sometimes calls her now) help to bring down the 13-day Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government in 1998. Things have changed since then. She is now regularly on Swamy’s cross hairs, a thing that is particularly evident if one goes through his Twitter feed. It doesn’t end with Twitter, of course, given that Swamy has filed a cheating and fraud case against the Gandhis in the Patiala House Court, involving alleged misappropriation of funds from the National Herald newspaper. Swamy has also accused Sonia Gandhi of stealing rare artefacts and statues and taking them to Italy. It doesn’t end there. Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice-president, is also a Swamy obsession, with an oft-quoted moniker of “Buddhu" for Rahul. Swamy has also taken on Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, by referring to him as “Robber" or “Robber Damaad".

J. Jayalalithaa

The recently re-elected Tamil Nadu chief minister has a familiar history with Swamy, who was once her close ally. However, as it would appear, things have gone irrevocably sour, with Swamy filing the original disproportionate assets case against J. Jayalalithaa, for which she was acquitted by the Karnataka high court. Swamy took the “JJ" (or Jail for Jayalalithaa) campaign to the Supreme Court, where the matter is reserved for judgment. By the way, Swamy and Jayalalithaa were on the same side in 1998, when that infamous tea party to bring down the NDA government was held at 10 Janpath, or Sonia Gandhi’s official residence.

Arvind Kejriwal

Swamy has a term for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders. He simply calls them “Naxalites", given their roots in Delhi’s civil society, and the anti-corruption movement. Arvind Kejriwal, or Shree 420 or Mohammad bin Tughlaq (or MBT) in Swamy-speak, recently found himself in the line of fire with Swamy joining a BJP-led protest in front of his residence, over the murder of a New Delhi Municipal Corporation official, M.M. Khan. Prior to Kejriwal’s eventual election as Delhi chief minister, Swamy predicted that Kiran Bedi, the BJP candidate, would emerge successful.

P. Chidambaram

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram is another regular in Swamy’s hit list, probably even figuring somewhere at the top of it. Swamy filed the original case against Chidambaram accusing him of allowing irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences. The courts have cleared PC’s role. But it does not stop Swamy from training his guns on the former finance minister.

BCCI

Swamy has been unwavering in his support of former BCCI president N. Srinivasan. So much so that he even filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, demanding the reinstatement of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the IPL franchise once linked to India Cements, where Srinivasan is the vice-chairman and managing director. In a statement soon after the Lodha Committee handed a two-year ban on CSK, Swamy invoked Tamilian Pride to seek a review of the committee’s decision. Last month, Swamy alleged that Shashank Manohar’s exit was linked to his case in the Supreme Court, where he sought to show his complicity with Lalit Modi.

Mother Teresa

One of the more recent names on the Swamy hit list, Mother Teresa has been a favourite among the right-wing commentariat for the longest time. On Wednesday, Swamy backed up his party MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, who earlier said that Mother Teresa was part of a conspiracy to ‘Christianise India’.

Swamy told ANI, “You see the issue of Yogi Adityanath expressing his view is not an isolated view. It is a view which has been reduced to books, there is a writer Christopher Hitchens, who has written a best seller book and if you go to Google you would get a lots of books about her." Hitchens, the late English journalist and literary critic wrote a best-seller book titled The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice in 1995.

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