Modi raps Swamy, says none above system

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:44 am IST

Published - June 28, 2016 01:17 am IST - NEW DELHI:

NEW DELHI, 25/09/2014:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresssing the gathering at the launch of "Make In India" at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday, September 25, 2014.  Photo: R.V. Moorthy

NEW DELHI, 25/09/2014: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresssing the gathering at the launch of "Make In India" at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday, September 25, 2014. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to intervene in the ongoing tug-of-war between Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy, saying that comments on senior functionaries of the Finance Ministry were “inappropriate” and that nobody should consider themselves above the system.

In an interview to TV channel Times Now , Mr. Modi said, “Whether it is in my party or not, I think such things are inappropriate. This fondness for publicity is never going to do any good to the nation. People should conduct themselves with utmost responsibility. If anybody considers himself above the system, it is wrong.”

He added that he had “no duvidha (dilemma) over the issue” and “was very clear” on what he meant to say. While not naming Mr Swamy, Mr Modi’s response was to a question about statements by a “BJP Rajya Sabha MP”.

Dr. Swamy and Mr. Jaitley have been at odds with each other over the former’s open criticism of Finance Ministry officials, like Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam and Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das. Mr. Narendra Modi’s remarks are expected to douse these fires.

Earlier Dr. Swamy had kept up a sustained effort to get Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan removed.

On the exit of Dr. Rajan, Mr. Modi said he (Dr. Rajan) had completed his full term despite apprehensions expressed by the Opposition that being a UPA government appointee he would be removed by the NDA government. He added that those “creating controversies” over his exit were doing more harm than good to Dr. Rajan.

Lauds Rajan

Praising Dr Rajan, he said: “My experience with him has been good and I appreciate the work he has done. He is no less patriotic. He loves India. Wherever he will work, he will work for India and he is patriotic.”

Dr. Swamy had written to the Prime Minister alleging that Dr. Rajan was not “fully mentally Indian”, having worked abroad for many years.

The Prime Minister also spoke rather strongly on the ongoing investigations into the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal. “There are many things [in the helicopter deal] which are not visible. One can’t imagine the difficulty I am experiencing in taking out things from dirt. One who is working there knows the amount of dirt that exists and how certain things have been caught in a web. There are certain powers behind it. In the case of Agusta helicopters, I can’t deny it and I believe that we have the right to conclude that people behind this are very experienced. They have perfected the art of doing wrong deeds, they are experienced and knowledgeable. One can also ‘smell’ the fact that such a thing wouldn’t have been done without protection from higher-ups,” he said.

“Investigation is on, let’s see,” he added.

Mr. Modi said parliamentary obstructionism was “unfortunate” and that “one party” (alluding to the Congress) should know better than to block legislation, given that they had been in power for over 60 years. “When people say ‘Opposition’, it is unfair to the opposition. There are some parties in Parliament which are not with the BJP or the NDA, but are with the government on key decisions. So, to defame the Opposition by saying that all Opposition parties are against us -- when some people do this, it is wrong,” he said.

“There is one party which has problems. And the whole world knows that party. Secondly, to say that ‘When you were in the Opposition, you did it this way’. There is a difference between every Opposition party. ‘We have run the government for 60 years and now we are in the Opposition, so we know the nitty-gritty of the government, we know the responsibilities. We can’t behave in the way, a new Opposition party behaves.' A party which hasn't been in power or hasn't seen anything, could behave in this way. For example, we are in power now, and consider in 2040 we become the Opposition party. So, in 2040 we can’t have the same conduct as the one we had in 2009 or 2010,” he added.

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