If there’s one man who has taken on leaders from every political party in India, then it’s got to be Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy.
A look at his targets which cover a wide range of the political spectrum…
1. Indira Gandhi: The Emergency of 1975 launched many a political career and one of them was Swamy. He was someone who took the Iron Lady head on and had to flee from the country. He went to the US to raise funds for the Emergency. He set up a group called Friends of India, which fought against the Emergency from outside India.
Indira dismissed Swamy as a “Santa Claus” and he was subsequently expelled from his position in IIT. When an arrest warrant was issued in his name, he cocked a snook at Indira by visiting India, getting into Parliament and leaving the country before anyone could nab him!
He did mend his ways with her after 1980 when the newly formed BJP refused to have anything to do with him.
2. Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Swamy claims that Vajpayee was jealous of his Emergency fame and prevented him from becoming a full-fledged Cabinet minister in the 1977 Janata Party Government. He also blames Vajpayee for getting rid of Morarji Desai as PM in 1979 with forged signatures of MPs!
Swamy claims that Vajpayee had a big hand in the debacle of the Janata Party even calling him Kooni or Manthara. Manthara was the maid of Kaikeyi, whom she convinced that Ram should be sent into exile so that Bharat could become king.
This happened despite the fact that the Jan Sangh was behind Swamy’s first Rajya Sabha ticket and hence his entry into Indian politics proper. That was a time when Vajpayee looked at Swamy as a person of great promise.
3. Ramakrishna Hegde: When Swamy attacked Vajpayee as mentioned before, he called Ramakrishna Hegde a partner in that crime. Later when Hegde became Chief Minister of Karnataka, he had a Mr Clean image. That image was severely dented when land scams and phone-tapping issues came to light. In all that, Swamy played a frontline role.
This despite the fact that both hailed from the same party! Later Hegde took Swamy to court in a Rs 2 crore defamation case, but the damage had been done.
4. J Jayalalitha: He took the formidable Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to court on corruption charges. Jaya responded by slapping a slew of defamation cases against him in TN courts. Among other things, Swamy accused Jaya of being authoritarian, denying her opponents basic civil liberties and even attacking them with violence.
But that did not stop Jaya from going all out to help Swamy win his Lok Sabha seat in 1998 and also recommend him for Finance Minister to the NDA government.
5. M Karunanidhi: Swamy worked against Karunanidhi’s 1989-91 DMK government and since then there has been animosity between the two. In 1997, Swamy made a list of allegations against Karunanidhi and got dragged to court. Nothing came of it and Swamy must find the courts a second home for him by now.
Karunanidhi’s pet Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, which would have linked India and Sri Lanka, was also met with stiff resistance from Swamy who argued against it on court on religious grounds, saying that it would damage the mythical Ram Sethu.
6. A Raja: This is Swamy’s biggest success in recent times and has got him a lot of fame. He was one of the first to seek the prosecution of the Telecom Minister. When the HC turned down his petition, he approached the SC and the rest is history.
It all led to Raja quitting and being jailed for a while in Tihar. The 2G licenses were cancelled and this is the single biggest jolt to UPA2. With Raja out of the way, Swamy is gunning for Home Minister P Chidambaram and then claims will go after Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
7. P Chidambaram: In the 1980s, Swamy embarrassed Chidambaram over the Hashimpura massacre and after decades their rivalry is still intact. In the 1990s it is said that Chidambaram tried to get Swamy arrested over FERA violations, but failed to do so.
Soon after, Swamy took Chidambaram to court over “misuse of his position” as Finance Minister in the Fairgrowth case and the latter escaped on a technicality.
His latest attempt is to get Chidambaram chargesheeted in the 2G scam, though that might prove to be a tall order. Swamy has even alleged that Chidambaram’s son Karti has been involved in the scam.
8. Sonia Gandhi: While most of India knows absolutely nothing about the Congress President’s family, Swamy has attacked it with great regularity, showing her father and sisters in poor light. Swamy has attacked her on citizenship issues. He has several conspiracy theories around Sonia.
Swamy has claimed to have prevented Sonia from becoming Prime Minister through a letter to the then President APJ Abdul Kalam in 2004. He accused Sonia’s sisters of being involved in the 2G scam and is at it again saying they are involved in Choppergate.
9. Rahul Gandhi: On his Twitter account, Swamy keeps referring to the Congress Yuvraj as “Buddhu” and attacks him regularly through his Tweets. He has attacked Rahul and Sonia saying they have technically violated many laws regarding a private company called Young India.
The scam amount was pegged at Rs 1600 crore, though the whole thing did not at all stick with the mainstream media. Swamy has been constantly baiting both Sonia and Rahul, though both of them have refused to bite the bait till date.
More From this Author:
India’s long journey from the Left to the Right
8 controversies involving defence chiefs
What if Narendra Modi is innocent?
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/