New Delhi: Just three question marks on Twitter have left Indian political observers in a tizzy.
First, mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik tweeted early Sunday morning that a campaign should be launched to get outspoken BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy appointed as India’s finance minister.
Remember the movement to get Kalam ji a second term ? Can we start a campaign to get Dr. Subramaniam swami ( who actually knows economics) as finance minister? Why is he being ignored? Court conspiracy? @SwarajyaMag @OpIndia_com @TrueIndoIogy are you up to this dharmik task? pic.twitter.com/Pf0mUpePMy
— Devdutt Pattanaik (@devduttmyth) October 13, 2019
To this, the actual Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, responded with the aforementioned three question marks.
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) October 13, 2019
Pattanaik apologised to Sitharaman soon after, but Twitter had already taken notice of the exchange.
I guess I crossed the line. Apologies. 🙏🏽 https://t.co/3jzVkGSUIq
— Devdutt Pattanaik (@devduttmyth) October 13, 2019
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While there were a few who chose to side with Pattanaik, several others felt that he had let them down with his tweets.
Yes @Swamy39 is suitable for finance ministry.
— Sonam Patil ❁ (@Sonam_Patil_) October 13, 2019
You did. I personally had fond memories reading Business Sutra ,Culture and about leadership through mythology. But seeing your tweets specially reactions, you let your readers down big time.
— Charan Singh (@barikcharansing) October 13, 2019
Way below your level to respond to a troll.
— Monica (@TrulyMonica) October 13, 2019
I think its best if he is ignored. 🙌😎🚩
— Ashu (@muglikar_) October 13, 2019
But Pattanaik is hardly the first person to have had this idea—it has come many times from Swamy himself!
In May this year, Swamy, who holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University, had shown interest in taking charge as finance minister in Narendra Modi’s new government.
: If Modi wants 10 % per year growth in GDP for next 5 years he should hand me the MoF. If he wants more spin and statistics manipulation only to be caught out later near the 2024 election then I suggest another name
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 22, 2019
He was, however, left out of the council of ministers entirely, while Sitharaman, who had served as defence minister between September 2017 and May 2019, was handed the finance portfolio.
Swamy’s criticism of Modi govt
Swamy has regularly been in the headlines thanks to his scathing criticism of several decisions taken by the government, led by his own party, the BJP.
Last month, he had also launched an attack on Modi’s ministers at the launch of his book Reset in the capital.
He said that his “good friend”, Statistics Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, knew “as much about stats as he did about Bharatnatyam”.
PM Modi was also not spared, with Swamy blaming his “lack of academic background” for surrounding himself with people who have little knowledge of economics, leading to the current state of the economy.
His book reflected these opinions, with an excerpt stating: “As a prime minister, Narendra Modi is the exact opposite of his predecessor, Dr Singh. He is not a person of letters, and one who has an unstudied familiarity with microeconomics but not macroeconomics and its intricacies of inter-sectoral economic dynamics.
“…But this same lack of academic background has made him [PM Modi] dependent on his friends and chosen rootless ministers, who never tell him the bitter truth about the economy or explain the macroeconomics or that he needs to figure the way out of a crisis.”
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