On June 27 Arnab Goswami ran his interview of PM Narendra Modi on Timesnow. It was an over an hour-long interview which covered many topics. Most of the answers by Modi were smart and some just dodged the question or were vacant in his answers. What made me wonder is; why this sudden interview? There was no special reason for it or some occasion that BJP or Modi were marking that called for such an interview. On the same day India Today and other channels reported that Arun Jaitley was very upset with the attacks by Subramaniam Swamy on some of the FinMin officials and that he was cutting short his China visit:
One cannot be sure but it seems like AJ conveyed his anguish to Modi about the attacks by SS and forced Modi to go on air and let the world know whose side he is on. According to Arnab the interview was recorded in the morning of Monday, June 27 and aired the same day. Although it’s a suspicion, I strongly believe this:
From the whole interview the media, including Timesnow, picked up only one main issue – that of a question related to Raghuram Rajan and whether Modi had snubbed SS over RR and other FinMin officials SS had targeted in his attacks. Modi responded by stating RR is no less a patriot than anyone else. That’s a rather poor answer. Surely, RR’s work or performance is not going to be measured by his patriotism. And no; not even Modi’s work is going to be measured by how great a patriot he is, of which there is no doubt. The allegations against RR by SS have not been refuted and therefore SS has a right to stand his ground. That apart, being an RBI governor, for Rajan to utter nonsense like “one-eyed king” on the economy or idiotic political statements over the fraudulent “intolerance” campaign makes him unworthy of any high office in the Govt. He cannot act like a politician does. Other allegations were about strangling SMEs through high interest rates which are debatable. But certainly, RR had to go and the PM just sent him off with some back-handed compliments.
There are statements by SS on other FinMin officials like Arvind Subramaniam and Shaktikanta Das. None of these statements or allegations have been challenged or refuted either. In case of ArvindS, facts show that he was predominantly anti-Modi in the past and even against some Pharma interests of India versus the US. Das’ role in the Aircel-Maxis scam which involves P. Chidambaram and his son as also in the National Herald case is documented here. None of it makes pleasant reading. Therefore, the media, observers and many on the SM obviously made it a Swamy V Jaitley battle. I don’t think Swamy makes it any secret either.
Supporters of AJ in the media (and most of them are) and elsewhere ask if a person who has been loyal to BJP for 40 years should be rated over someone like SS who has changed loyalties in the past. It is true, SS has been erratic in the past, even helping to bring down the ABV govt once. AJ on his part is didactic and pompous, mostly in the media. SS does have some major accomplishments to his credit while AJ mostly has accomplishments as a party strategist and as an excellent lawyer. But here’s what matters:
When you go for a job interview, even with 20-25 years of experience, the one sitting opposite you is more keen to know what your major accomplishments were in the last 1-3 years. That’s what counts the most.
The comparison has to be who has more utility to India between AJ and SS. Right now, AJ doesn’t seem to have much utility for India as he is failing miserably in his job as minister of finance and also I&B. Mindless burdens on the middle class and almost daily empty blabber about the economy in the media. That is what AJ can boast about. And the only place where he conducts his Durbar is the media. From protecting Barkha Dutt in Radiagate and unwillingness to prosecute NDTV or having weddings of media-folks’ kids in his bungalow AJ is a media darling. In all his career you wouldn’t have seen one single article criticising him severely. Magic!
That’s where AJ fails miserably and SS stands out as a success. If CongressMuktBharat is a goal for Modi then SS has had an important to play in that. AJ had none. From 2G to National Herald to other issues, SS has led a severe, consistent onslaught against the Congress and their Chinese Gandhis and put them in a spot more than once. This has definitely helped BJP in cornering Congress as a corrupt party and scoring electoral wins in 2014 and many states after that. In what was a Modi-wave AJ lost a public election while SS did not get a party ticket. SS, to his credit, has at least two past public election victories to the LS while AJ has none. SS has a decent mass-base for a politician, including what he calls PTs on SM but AJ has none. AJ’s only mass base is the media and his Durbaris from it. What would you think of Modi if he were seen with some of the worst scumbags of media or with someone like Robert Vadra?
Even Arnab would have been somewhat embarrassed to be seen on the same table with the likes of Barkha, Nidhi or Vikram Chandra. That AJ’s relatives have Congress links is also known but that need not be of any consequence. His loyalty to the party is unquestionable and he’s a great defender of the party in the Parliament and outside but that is just about all. He filed a case against Kejriwal for defamation. However, when it comes to the party or the PM, AJ bothers least about the mindless venom, hatred and fake news that the media spews. And this, when he has the power to punish genuine wrong-doings. A Caravan Magazine article last year chronicled this Durbari and the web he weaves in Lutyens and Timesnow deleted this quote of his:
True to that quote, Outlook magazine in a recent article stated “Last year, when a less-than-flattering profile of the portly Union finance minister appeared, the few advertisements the publication received from PSU banks apparently started drying up because someone made phone calls from North Block. There is, of course, nothing to prove gossip like that”. Outlook probably refers to the Caravan article without naming it. Wow! Punishment for writing a long article about Jaitley? What’s the punishment for those media outlets who lie day in and out about the GOI? What’s the punishment for those outlets that constantly slander and lie about PM Modi? NOTHING! And post the Arnab-Modi interview the media went on a rampage against SS with bogus allegations and twisted headlines:
The day AJ was made Finance Minister I was the first to call him “PC in Pajamas”. His policies have the same tone as those of PC. His proximity to P. Chidambaram has had many wondering if he will let off PC and his family in multiple scams they are reported to be involved in. AJ is on record stating on NDTV that the NatHerald case can be closed if the Gandhis returned the money. And all this from the FM of a govt in which Modi has promised to punish the corrupt. As for black money, I never expected it to come back. I would be just happy if more black money didn’t get warehoused abroad. Swamy too wants to be FM. He has stated he will abolish personal income tax and still have the treasury benefiting. All Modi or AJ need to do is ask him how and have a discussion. They will not.
So why is AJ a minister in ModiSarkar? After having lost the LS election which Navjot Siddhu (who had to vacate the seat for him) should have easily won? The answer is simple. AJ and Modi have long been chums from the early days of AJ in BJP and the days when AJ was election manager in Gujarat when Modi was CM. Besides, there could be another dangerous reason. With AJ in charge of I&B the vicious lies and attacks on Modi have still not stopped. Just imagine the hitjobs if he is out of the Cabinet. But a time has to come, and it surely will, when Modi will have to put Country ahead of his friendship with AJ. He can be in the Cabinet but better off with another portfolio. This consistent nurturing of anti-BJP, anti-Modi durbaris of media by AJ simply cannot go on forever without the party and Modi having to pay a severe price. And there is even a back-handed, sly acknowledgement of AJ’s credentials by the motor-mouth from Congress:
What Diggy says about Jaitley continuing PC’s legacy may only be partly true. But AJ has two ministries and in both he needs a sidekick MoS. One of the MoS (Rathore in I&B) is woefully incompetent. BJP and Modi supporters on SM and Twitter battle hard almost every day to dismantle the lies and crap peddled by media against BJP and Modi but these ministers sit like statues of Rodin in their offices doing nothing. This is where SS scores with the public. And why should SS be silenced to protect the ego of a non-performer? There is nothing that Swamy has said that is inappropriate or against the party (his tweets are sometimes caustic but that is no offence). Continuing with Congress stooges in the govt has serious problems. Ishrat files have disappeared and who knows how many other files have disappeared. Who knows how many corrupt people from the Congress years are being protected? These are not imaginary threats that SS talks about.
Like I stated before, in this battle our interest should not be which individual we are more supportive of. I do not follow or directly support either of them. Our simple concern has to be which one offers greater utility and service to India. The competition is not in patriotism, the competition is in productive and measurable results and impact for the country. And in that AJ fails miserably as a self-serving, self-protecting, survive-under-any-cost politician. SS may have been erratic in the past but in the last few years he is the one who has delivered more for India, the BJP and Modi in political success and in bringing the corrupt to account. That benefits India and that is what should count.