Subramanian Swamy makes good copy. His high-profile and colourful life filled with intrigue, conflict, and conspiracy reads like a must-see soap opera. Like Forrest Gump, he's been part of – or thrust himself into – almost every important political moment in recent Indian history. Now he's back into limelight courtesy the 2G scandal in his latest incarnation as an anti-corruption crusader.
This week brings a cover story in Outlook magazine, accompanied by an interview with his wife. It covers all the usual ground – extreme rhetoric, Emergency-era shenanigans, anti-Muslim agenda, etc – but offers this interesting theory about his long-standing feud with home minister P Chidambram [Read the article here]:
"According to a recent article by Punjab Kesri journalist GS Chawla, the rift between Swamy and his ‘student’ at Harvard originated in the HD Deve Gowda government in the mid-1990s. Chidambaram was finance minister then. Writes Chawla: “People do not know that Subramanian Swamy has been close to the controversial godman Chandraswami and Dr Prathap Reddy of Apollo hospital. All of them were members of a trust founded by Chandraswami. The enforcement directorate had found serious irregularities in the accounts of the trust in which some foreign currency was deposited. The finance ministry planned to act against all the three trustees.”
The Kesri article alleges that Chidu refused to back down even after one of the trustees approached former Attorney-General G Ramaswamy to broker a rappochement. In the end, former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar had to intervene to ensure that Deve Gowda stopped the proceedings.
The 2G scandal, hence, offered an excellent opportunity to settle this long-standing grudge – and more. The article suggests that Swamy's prime ministerial ambitions remain undiminished – despite the remote possibility of such an ascension. The BJP refuses to take him in due to fierce resistance from second-gen leaders like Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi and Sushma Swaraj. And mere RSS support won't suffice.
Yet hope springs eternal, at least among his supporters, including his biggest fan and wife, Supreme Court advocate Roxna Swamy who says, "He’s brilliant, no doubt about it. Because he’s so brilliant, people want to put him down. Even now he’s capable of being PM. He has the capacity."
More unexpected is the view of the man offered by his younger brother, Ram Subramanian, who argues that Swamy's views can be traced to the RSS leanings of their mother Padmavati. “Swamy could never come to terms with the fact that I was, like my father, a sympathiser of the Left,” he says. As for his brother's political career, Ram emphasises Swamy's high integrity, but adds: “If he had a little more tolerance level to differences of opinion, he’d be a far more successful politician than he is.”
Updated Date: Feb 14, 2012 14:59 PM