CHANDRASWAMI is back in business. His services were sought recently by friends in the BJP to defuse the on-going crisis provoked by the friend Subramanian Swamy and J. Jayalalitha on one side, and Ram Jethmalani on the other. Even though the BJP adopts an anti-Chandraswami posture in public, senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat are known to be close to him.
So, while the prime minister appealed to the allies to observe restraint, Shekhawat met the godman at Rajas-than Bhawan, apparently to propitiate Swamy. However, Chandraswami's aide Vikram Singh maintains they discussed "some work regarding his school in Rajasthan".
Such interaction with the godman is not new. Sources say that after the general elections when the BJP was still trying to garner support, Chandraswami was approached by "top party leaders". Says a Chandraswami aide: "Around 10 days before the formation of the government, people from the BJP approached Swamiji to get Dr Swamy and Jayalalitha around." And now with the BJP-Jayalalitha standoff continuing, the Vajpayee government badly needs an effective intermediary. Chandraswami, it is felt, is just the man. His hold on Swamy can be gauged from the fact that he played an important role in bringing two sworn enemies, Swamy and Jayalalitha, together.
But those close to Chandraswami concede that even he can't ask Swamy to keep quiet. "How can you expect Swamy to keep quiet when he is not getting anything? Why does one then get into politics?" asks Singh.