After the initial perfunctory questions about interest rates and liquidity, the inevitable came. “Governor,” asked a lady at Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan’s press conference at the central bank’s head office in Mumbai Tuesday morning, “will you be there during the crucial September-October period?”
Rajan said he had prepared a statement on it which he’ll read out at the end of the conference. The small, packed auditorium became so quiet it may have been empty.
The governor’s current three-year term ends in September. A second term for Rajan, who is a darling of foreign investors and of most Indian companies, has been a subject of speculation, more so after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy asked for his head.
Then someone suggested: wouldn’t he like to read the statement right away? Everyone was waiting for it. It sounded big.
What Rajan said next was just the opposite. “It’ll be cruel of me to spoil all the fun the press is having with my tenure. I’m intrigued by all the letters I’m supposed to have written.”
Rajan was apparently indicating to the letters that Swamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking immediate removal of the governor from his post.
Suddenly, everyone was chuckling. Then Rajan became serious.
All such decisions, he said, are taken after a discussion between the government and the incumbent.
Both finance minister Arun Jaitley and Modi have refused to comment on the issue.