‘Don’t be an idiot’: Swamy on whether he will attack new RBI governor Patel
Urjit Patel’s appointment as the new Reserve Bank of India governor on Saturday appeared to have the support of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who recently launched a series of attacks against the outgoing central bank chief Raghuram Rajan.business Updated: Aug 20, 2016 22:06 IST
Urjit Patel’s appointment as the new Reserve Bank of India governor on Saturday appeared to have the support of BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who recently launched a series of attacks against the outgoing central bank chief Raghuram Rajan.
In a string of re-tweets and replies to his Twitter followers, Swamy said it will be utterly “idiotic” to think he will attack Patel because he was born in Kenya.
Swamy, who has been critical of Rajan’s policy of not lowering interest rates to check inflation, hoped Patel will not be as “hawkish” as the outgoing governor.
When one of his followers mentioned Patel’s Kenyan origin, Swamy replied: “He is not a Kenyan citizen, but was. R3 was born Indian and chose to continue his US green card even though in India from 2007.”
To another user who asked if Swamy would attack Patel for being born in Kenya, the BJP MP replied: “Don’t be an idiot like the presstitudes.”
R3 is the acronym Swamy uses to refer to Rajan, whom he had on several occasions attacked for keeping interest rates high and hurting growth.
Throughout June, Swamy hogged headlines with a barrage of criticism directed at Rajan, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian and economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das. The Twitter tirade forced many, even in the government, to question the limits of acceptable political discourse in India.
On Saturday, Swamy’s tweets led to his followers proclaiming he was backing Patel’s appointment. He even retweeted a follower’s comment: “Looks like @Swamy39 approves Urijit Patel’s appointment.”
When a user posted “I am so dead sure that Swamy is not happy with this appointment”, the BJP MP hit back, saying “rubbish”.
Swamy also retweeted a follower’s tweet that said: “Bye Raghuram Rajan. Pick another hobby. Thanks @Swamy39. Welcome @UrjitPatel_ #TransformingIndia #RBI #AchheDin.”
Swamy had earlier alleged Rajan is “not appropriate for the country” and alleged that he has “hiked interest rates in the garb of controlling inflation which has damaged the country”.
In his sharpest attack, Swamy called for Rajan’s removal and said the economist was “mentally not fully Indian”, comments that were seen to have contributed to the central bank chief’s decision to step down at the end of his three-year tenure in September.
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi brushed aside criticism of Rajan and said those stoking controversies about the RBI governor were doing a grave injustice to him.
After assuming charge as the RBI governor in September 2013, Rajan had gradually raised the short-term lending rate from 7.25% to 8% and had retained the high rates throughout 2014.
He kept the rates high, citing inflationary concerns despite intense pressure from the finance ministry and the industry for softening them with a view to boosting growth.
The governor started the process of lowering the rate in January 2015 and since then, it has come down by 1.50% to 6.50%.