Why we should all take Subramanian Swamy seriously

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 30, 2016 07:50 hrs
Cartoon: Swamy wants Rajan sacked!

Many people view BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy as nothing but a loose cannon that may hit anyone at any time, a matter of mere chance. But that’s only on the surface. Deep down Swamy is actually a guided missile and consistent in his own unique universe.

Let me explain. Public perception is that he is highly inconsistent and you never know which way he will turn.

Take the case of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. First he attacked Indira Gandhi. Then he befriended Rajiv. Then he attacked Sonia. Seems like a blow-hot, blow-cold kind of person.

Then despite being part of the Janata alliance, he finished the career of former Karnataka Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde.

There's his relationship with the BJP too. First, he attacked Prime Minister AB Vajpayee. Then he spoke warmly of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many of his colleagues. After that he attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Finally, take Hindutva. First, he was seen as a hardliner, then he attacked the RSS calling it a Fascist organization and now he's peddling hardline Hindutva again.

Looked at from this angle, he appears highly fickle and most are predicting that he will soon start attacking Modi. However this is all wishful thinking.

The problem is with how politics is run in this country. Modi. The RSS. The VHP. The Bajrang Dal. All their supporters. The media and intellectuals will tell you they are all the same and if you support any one, then you support them all.

Similarly there is the universe of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. You are either for her, or for Modi. There seems to be no middle ground. 

That’s why all enemies of  Modi support Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blindly despite his lack of governance, anarchy, tainted AAP leaders and even despite the fact that a whopping 21 MLAs may be disqualified over the office of profit issue.

That’s why all the enemies of Modi made a rank non-entity in the form of JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar a virtual superstar and he may well go back to jail (he is out on bail, remember?) especially after a forensic lab has found all the videos presented by the Delhi Police to be genuine.

That’s why you found so many women journalists beaming around Lalu Prasad Yadav after his spectacular victory in Bihar despite the fact that they knew he would bring Jungle Raj back in Bihar and crimes against women would increase exponentially.

Swamy is the exact opposite of this kind of thinking and discourse. He gives two hoots for both parties and organizations. If he’s with the BJP, you will never find him praising every leader and justifying their every move.

Swamy only believes in two things: Individuals and causes. If he likes an individual, he will back him no matter which party he or she is in.

If he believes in a cause, he will back it no matter what any party or individual thinks. Take Hinduism. He has a great fondness for Kailash Manasarovar and has been trying to ensure safe passage for pilgrims hampered by Chinese control.

He negotiated with the Chinese government in the 1980s with the help of Rajiv’s Congress government. He is negotiating with the Chinese government in the 2010s with the help of Modi’s BJP government. Howzat for consistency?

Then take the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. It was at various stages supported by Vajpayee’s BJP government, Manmohan Singh’s Congress government and M Karunanidhi’s DMK.

But Swamy gives two hoots for parties and that affected his core Hindutva. The canal would have destroyed the mythical Ram Sethu worshipped by millions of Hindus and it had to go.

That was a spectacular Swamy success.

He hated and fought Indira, but liked and befriended Rajiv. He liked and befriended Rajiv, but he hated and fought Sonia. Swamy is very focused on the individual and doesn’t get swayed by the individual’s family, party or parent organization.

That’s why his attack on RSS can in no way seen as an attack on Hinduism. Hinduism is thousands of years old and the RSS is not even a hundred years old. Just because you attack the RSS doesn’t make you anti-Hindu at any stage.

Swamy in his own mind has been true to the cause of Hinduism consistently. Confusion in the minds of his detractors takes place when two hated people collide. He backs the one he hates the least. He accused Vajpayee of denying him a Cabinet berth in the 1977 Janata Party government and subsequently toppling Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

Swamy has held a grudge against Vajpayee for close to 40 years till this present day. That’s why he backed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and Sonia when he didn’t want Vajpayee to be PM.

With Vajpayee was totally out of the political equation, he turned his guns on Jaya and Sonia again with spectacular results. He sent Jaya to jail for a few weeks, forced her to vacate the CM’s chair for some time while the Supreme Court Damocles Sword still hangs over her.

Sonia also faces her first chargesheet in the National Herald case. 

Swamy believes he is a nationalist and anti-corruption crusader and will go after anyone who he thinks is dirty on that count. He thinks Manmohan is a decent man caught in the wrong place and has refused to attack him directly. 

As you can see, Swamy will never attack everyone in the Congress or support everyone in the BJP. That’s not his style.

Swamy thinks former Congress Cabinet Minister P Chidambaram is corrupt to the core and will attack both Jaitley and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan thanks to their perceived links with Chidambaram.

One person he has praised consistently is Modi. Detractors of both leaders jumped with glee when Modi rebuked Swamy in his interview with Arnab Goswami. They predicted that he would now attack Modi being the unpredictable guy that he is.

But here’s the thing. Swamy attacked Rajan. Rajan went. It’s already Swamy’s victory. Who cares what Modi says to any journalist? (A main point to be noted is that both Modi and Swamy have a pretty dim view of journalists)

When Swamy attacked Rajan, Modi kept quiet. Had Modi called Swamy to his office and rebuked him and kept Rajan, it would have been a resounding slap on the face of Swamy.

That didn’t happen. There’s no point in bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It’s an empty gesture. People still don’t take Swamy seriously and call him a loose cannon. That suits him.

Swamy was one of the foot soldiers who toppled the Congress at the Centre in 1977. He ended the careers of Hegde and former Telecom Minister A Raja. He scrapped the Ram Sethu project.

He sent Jaya to jail and hauled Sonia, son Rahul, Congress leaders Sam Pitroda Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey. They may all be convicted together one day with a single judgement.

Ignore this guided missile at your own peril!


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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here