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The Perpetually Angry Swamy

By Mayur Shekhar Jha
Updated on :
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy says can’t be chowkidar as he is a Brahmin

It was a hot summer afternoon in 2012 and 2G judge OP Saini’s courtroom was packed to capacity. Among those waiting for the judge was Dr Subramanian Swamy, a co-petitioner with Prashant Bhushan in the 2G case. And the judgement to be delivered was no ordinary one. Dr Swamy had alleged that P Chidambaram, the then Home Minister of the country, must be tried in the 2G case. He argued that the court must order CBI to name Mr Chidambaram in the 2G case as a co-accused with A Raja. Dr Swamy had originally moved the plea in the Supreme Court with Justices Ganguly and Singhvi. On the day of his retirement, Justice Ganguly had perhaps decided not to mess with Dr Swamy, and opined that the right court to take a call on these allegations was the 2G trial court.
All eyes were now on Judge OP Saini. As soon as the judge walked into the courtroom, he requested Dr Swamy for a one-to-one discussion before pronouncement of the verdict. As a closed courtroom discussion between Judge Saini and Dr Swamy ensued, the anxiety was palpable. After almost an hour, the 2G Judge gave the verdict. He dismissed Dr Swamy’s petition.

The days between Justice Ganguly asking Dr Swamy to go to the trial court and the verdict by Judge Saini, would have possibly been the most fretful days in the life of Mr Chidambaram, who soon after, went on to once again become the Finance Minister of India.
Whereas Mr Chidambaram is one of the biggest factors that keep Dr Swamy busy, he has never hidden his feelings for Mrs Sonia Gandhi and her family either. In the last two decades, Dr Swamy has come up with multiple unverified theories attacking Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. And it’s not that the BJP MP only picks his targets within the Congress. Many Tamilians who do not have any political affiliations also find a way in the life of Dr Swamy. My friends in media, who know Dr Swamy well, say that Reserve Bank of India Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan’s decision to call it quits gave a big boost to Dr Swamy. He is perhaps the only serious casualty of Dr Swamy’s never-ending tirade against multiple targets. He must have picked on chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian thinking non-political actors are more vulnerable targets. It seems the first thought that must have occurred to Shaktikanta Das was, why me, I am not even Tamil!

People familiar with Dr Swamy suggest that there is a clear method through which he picks his targets. A target once picked, will always remain on his radar. The priority may change though. Of course this theory doesn’t hold for Chidambaram. The Swamy-Chidu conflict is in a different league altogether. There’s a reason why Dr Swamy is picking on people in the Finance Ministry, and people considered close to current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Behind closed doors, Dr Swamy is quite vocal about his feelings for Mr Jaitley. His perpetual desire to be the finance minister is also not hidden.

Pre-2014, Dr Swamy picked on Mrs Gandhi, because the target was to build proximity to Narendra Modi. Post-2014, destabilizing Arun Jaitley seems the ultimate target.

However, what BJP insiders are most worried about is that even a tirade against PM Modi cannot be ruled out at some point of time. Meanwhile, the political theatre does promise some very interesting days ahead as the Jaitley-Swamy cold war reaches the next level.

(Mayur Shekhar Jha is founder and managing director of Newsd)