Sunday, Nov 27, 2022
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Fit For A Fresh Start

Never before has a kerfuffle been raised over a central banker. What makes Rajan different?

Sretching Out Photograph by Hindustan Times

Who’s Batting For Raghu And Who’s Not

  • Narendra Modi
    PM has not openly spoken about Rajan, but after the initial cold vibes, signals suggest a certain comfort level with the top banker
  • Arun Jaitley
    Has sparred with Rajan on interest rates, and talks of a “mature relationship” but repeated speculation about Rajan’s future indicates discord
  • BJP-RSS
    Sections do not like Rajan’s political statements, but there is clarity that perception management about the economy rests with Rajan—not Jaitley
  • Subramanian Swamy
    Has made no bones about wanting Jaitley’s job, and is leading an RSS drive to remove Rajan on the grounds that he has stymied economic growth.
  • India Inc
    Big guns like Adi Godrej and Uday Kotak have come out in support of Rajan, an indication of his global heft, but it’s no secret over-leveraged firms have been unhappy with his policies.
  • Public opinion
    90 per cent of top 43 CEOs polled by Economic Times want Rajan to get a second  term. A change.org petition has got over 50,000 signatures in his support.

***

A little after midnight in Bangalore a few days ago, something magical happened to Rajesh Palaria. The 33-year-old business analyst was surfing the news, dominated by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the removal of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan. A curious Palaria decided to research Rajan’s credentials. “The more I read about Rajan, I realised that he had only helped the economy flourish,” he told Outlook. A few hours later, Palaria decided to act. He took to the most accessible platform—change.org—to file a petition that has since gone viral, with 50,000 or so signatures.

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