Within hours of Raghuram Rajan’s announcement that he would not be serving a second term as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Opposition slammed the BJP government, saying it had “invited this development” through a “campaign of insinuations, baseless allegations and puerile attacks” on him.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi knows everything. He has no need for experts like Raghuram Rajan. Thank you Dr Rajan for steering the economy in difficult times. People like you make India great.”
P Chidambaram, who was Union Finance Minister when Rajan was appointed RBI Governor by the UPA government in 2013, said: “I am disappointed and profoundly saddened by the decision of Dr Raghuram Rajan to leave the RBI on completion of his term on September 4, 2016, but I hasten to add that I am not surprised at all.”
“The government had invited this development through a craftily planned campaign of insinuations, baseless allegations and puerile attacks on a distinguished academic and economist,” he said. “As I had said some time ago, this government did not deserve Dr Rajan. Nevertheless, India is the loser.”
The Congress echoed Chidambaram’s views. Party spokesperson Manish Tewari told The Sunday Express: “It was expected. This government wanted him out possibly because the oligarchs who back this government were upset over the asset quality review which would have exposed the extent of the rot in the Indian banking system.”
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“But the government did not have the gall to tell him that they would not like him to continue because they possibly feared an adverse reaction. Therefore, you let loose your people on him, make all kinds of insinuations and allegations and essentially tell the person that if you do not go, we will hound you to the gates of hell and back and ultimately any self-respecting person will leave,” he said.
“Essentially, he was trying to clean up the banking system. So obviously those who would have been hurt were the beneficiaries of the banking system. And there was nervousness in the public sector banks. So, therefore it was coming,” Tewari said.
Asked about Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy’s campaign against Rajan, he said “It is not Swamy. I disagree with that completely. Swamy was doing what the NDA government and the BJP wanted him to do. Has the Finance Minister or the BJP strongly distanced themselves from Swamy’s position? The BJP, in fact, endorsed the position.”
Janata Dal (United) secretary-general K C Tyagi said: “One can see the shadow of the RSS over the whole chain of events leading up to Raghuram Rajan’s announcement today”.
“It seems, the RSS has prevailed upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the matter, which is very worrying. Rajan had been the target of a very sinister campaign by people considered close to the RSS over quite some time. It is sad that the prestige and autonomy of the RBI Governor’s office has been undermined in the process,” he said.
“All ministries dealing with economic activities have also been on the radar of the Sangh Parivar which wants to influence the formulation of their policies and working. There is urgent need for protecting institutions from such designs,” Tyagi said.
Senior CPI leader D Raja said while Rajan is the chief of the central bank, all the macro and micro level economic policies are decided by the government.
“All macro and micro level economic policies are decided by the government and not by the RBI Governor. How come Subramanian Swamy goes on accusing Raghuram Rajan? As any other economist, he (Rajan) is also making some realistic assessments and statements on the state of economy. Swamy should accuse the government and ministers in the government for the state of affairs. Swamy knows very well that the policies are decided by the government,” he said.
“Whether Finance Minister and Prime Minister agree with what Swamy has been saying and they are letting down the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India… They should react to what Swamy has been saying… Government should make it clear whether it agrees with Swamy… In that case, they are letting down the chief of the central bank,” Raja said.