New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said he does not approve of attacks on Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan, whose dismissal has again been sought today by BJP lawmaker and the minister's colleague in the Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy.
- BJP MP Subramanian Swamy wrote to PM seeking Raghuram Rajan's dismissal
- Swamy suggested Rajan be sent back to Chicago, where he teaches
- Raghuram Rajan's term as RBI governor expires in September
"I do not approve of any personal comments on anyone, let alone the RBI governor. The RBI is an important institution; it makes its judgement. One can agree or disagree with their judgement, but that is a debate on issues," Mr Jaitley said to NDTV in an exclusive interview on Thursday as the Modi government completed two years in office.
Asked if he expects RBI governors - as the central bank suggests they are on its website - to be "publicly shy", the Finance Minister said, "How one should be is personal. Even among ministers there are those who are outgoing, and express themselves freely... There are times I go out and speak about stuff that isn't even (about) my ministry. So I can't preach to the world not to go out and say something. That is not a determining factor. That's not relevant."
There is reportedly disquiet in the BJP and the government over Dr Rajan's public statements in the intolerance debate or even when he used the analogy of a "one-eyed king in a land of the blind" for the Indian economy.
Mr Swamy has shot off a second letter to the Prime Minister today, listing six allegations that he says necessitate Dr Rajan's immediate sacking. The BJP lawmaker accuses Dr Rajan of raising interest rates to the detriment of small and medium industries and has called it "wilful and thus anti-national in intent".
He has suggested that the RBI governor be "sent back to Chicago", where he teaches at the Booth School of Business, and has alleged that Dr Rajan is "mentally not fully Indian", since he continues to renew the Green Card issued to him by the US government.
While the RBI governor has not responded, Mr Swamy's attacks have drawn criticism from several quarters, not least the Congress, which appointed Dr Rajan to head the central bank during its tenure at the Centre.
There has also been a surge of support online, with a petition gone viral urging Prime Minister Modi to appoint Raghuram Rajan for a second term as RBI governor. His term ends on September 3.