The BJP is increasingly uneasy over party MP Subramanian Swamy’s unrelenting attack on key policy makers and swipes at Union finance minister Arun Jaitley that have embarrassed the Narendra Modi government.
Swamy has hogged headlines in the past few days for demanding the removal of chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and leveling corruption allegations against economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das.
He also ran a caustic social media campaign against Raghuram Rajan that was said to have contributed to the outgoing Reserve Bank of India governor’s decision to step down after September.
The BJP has publicly distanced itself from Swamy’s controversial tweets and remarks, saying that it didn’t agree with him, but hasn’t made any attempt to rein him in.
Many BJP leaders view Swamy’s diatribe as a “breach of discipline” and suggest the party leadership needs to act as the attacks are sending a wrong message to the party cadre and people.
“There is a certain culture of discipline in the party. If anyone has views, they can use the party forum for articulating them,” a senior BJP functionary said.
But a seemingly undeterred Swamy signaled that he wouldn’t relent on the barbs. “People giving me unasked for advice of discipline and restraint don’t realise that if I disregard discipline there would be a blood bath,” he tweeted on Friday.
His comment was seen in the context of Jaitley’s defence of Subramanian on Wednesday. Expressing full confidence in the CEA, Jaitley had said, “I would also add one more fact from the 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?”
Swamy on Friday also prescribed a dress code for ministers travelling abroad. “BJP should direct our ministers to wear traditional and modernised Indian clothes while abroad. In coat and tie they look like waiters,” he tweeted.
BJP leaders close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also dismissed suggestions that Swamy had the tacit support of the Sangh and that the BJP’s ideological parent was instrumental in getting Swamy a Rajya Sabha berth.
He was nominated to the Upper House for “the work that he has done for the BJP in the past decade”, they said.
A senior RSS functionary told HT that the attacks were a BJP matter and would be discussed and dealt with by the party. “The leadership is equipped to deal with this.”
Asked if the Sangh was unhappy with the choice of Subramanian and Das, he said that the Sangh “did not object” to their appointments as “it is the prerogative of the government”.