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Rajan replacing Rajan and other new RBI governor rumours in Delhi

As brothers set out to meet their sisters for Rakhi, word spread that a new Reserve Bank of India governor could be announced on Thursday. Any time.

business Updated: Aug 18, 2016 22:50 IST
Suchetana Ray
RBI governor Raghuram Rajan makes a point at a press conference after his last monetary policy review at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday.
RBI governor Raghuram Rajan makes a point at a press conference after his last monetary policy review at the RBI headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday.(PTI)

It was thought that only Raghuram Rajan can make Raisina Hill, the seat of the central government, buzz on a holiday. Actually, the replacement can, too, even if s/he happens to be a mere conjecture at this point in time.

As brothers set out to meet their sisters for Rakhi, word spread that a new Reserve Bank of India governor, to replace Rajan, could be announced on Thursday. Any time.

Such things have been coming every other day since Rajan said he was not getting a second term. But today, the buzz seemed credible because of three reasons:

1. There is not much time left before Rajan’s tenure ends on September 3

2. There had been a lull the last few days, when there was no Rajan rumour

3. Big things tend to happen on holidays

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Naturally, hordes of reporters descended at the North Block, the seat of the finance minsitry. They were told mainly two things by different officials, both equally intriguing.

One, that the announcement will be made by the Prime Minister’s Office, so everyone should keep a beady eye on the PMO website. And two, that Rajan’s replacement--hold your breath--could be Rajan himself.

“I don’t know, I wouldn’t be sitting here if I did,” said an official. However, he added as an afterthought: “It could be anyone, you know, even Rajan might get another term.”

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That was cue for a television journalist to hold forth in the media room at the North Block. “My top sources tell me Rajan might get a second term,” he said, and everyone around him smiled the knowing smile. They all knew who the top source was, they had all spoken to him.

Showing a healthy competitive spirit, the reporter of another channel said he had known the new governor’s name all along, but the government was holding back the announcement because his channel ahd broken the news. Everyone around him smiled the disbelieing smile.

A senior government official whose office HT managed to get into, wouldn’t say anything except: “Go away, do not waste my time with these questions.”

There was no smile.