September 24, 2015

India: Subramanian Swamy may not be the next JNU VC


Make me a Union minister instead: Here's why Subramanian Swamy will definitely not be the next JNU VC

by Sanjay Singh Sep 24, 2015 21:02 IST

The post of Jawaharlal Nehru University vice-chancellor is not one that Subramanian Swamy wishes to hold. He wants to remain in active politics and be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet, if possible.

This is the fifth time he has declined a government post offered to him in the past year, but there is a difference this time round. The other posts were offered quietly, as is the norm with any top appointment, and Swamy quietly declined them. But this time since it involved JNU, a premier Left-oriented Central university, the “leak” of news that Swamy — a known proponent of Hindutva — was being considered as the next VC was bound to create a storm.

The offer, if it actually fructifies, couldn’t be more ironic. Swamy’s views on Jawaharlal Nehru are too well known. He does not consider Nehru a nationalist, and occasionally uses even stronger words to denounce Nehru and his legacy. One does not have to be an astrologer or a meteorologist to say that Swamy heading a university founded in Nehru’s name is a certain recipe for an onset of days full of hail and storm.
Subramanian Swamy. IBN Live.

Subramanian Swamy. IBN Live.

Swamy, it seems is enjoying the attention, and with a series of tweets, has kept the debate going: “Media is on fire that I have been offered the JNU VC post. No formal offer nor will there be if the Govt cannot meet my preconditions.” In another tweet he said, “PTs are overwhelmingly against my accepting JNU VC post. No question of my considering unless allowed to rusticate anti-national students.” In his latest tweet he said "I think JNU needs an Anti Narcotics Bureau campus branch office to raid dorms and arrest naxals, Jehadis and Elis. BSF camp also”.

Swamy said to Firstpost, “My mind is focused. I will be in politics. If they have to give me something then they could offer me a ministerial berth in the Union Cabinet.”

Swamy had earlier stated that in the days before the 2014 Parliamentary Election, he had been promised the finance minister's job by someone at the top, but after the election, the same person told him that as a result of certain compulsions, he could no longer have the post. Then came an offer for the post of governor, which he refused because he didn’t want to go into 'retirement mode'. This was followed by the offer of an ambassadorial post in the US or some Western country. A UN posting was also offered, after which the job of BRICS Bank chairman was also offered to him. He didn’t take that one either.

The post of JNU VC is the latest in the long list of offers, and he has once again said no. Sources close to him say that he suspects that some members of the BJP — a senior minister in particular — wants him to be pushed out of political horizon. Swamy on his part is in no mood to oblige them.

The leadership is not offering him what he actually wants for two reasons: First, who will tame his fiercely independent streak and tendency to speak his heart irrespective of the political consequences it might have? Second, Swamy is now 76, a year older than the RSS’ prescribed age for holding such posts. Yashwant Singh had famously described 75-plus as “brain dead” in the party.

The JNU VC’s offer came to him through some well placed “well-wishers” and they cited various reasons why his services were required there, sources said. Those who made the offer to him said that they had suspected that he (Swamy) would say “no” to them, but they were still conveying the message.

Swamy in turn, told the “well wishers” that he couldn’t accept the offer and if had to accept the offer his conditions must be met first. Swamy was well aware that these were near-impossible conditions which could never be granted, so the offer was as good as dead. But the arguments made by Swamy apart from what he has tweeted, are interesting.

Sources said he told them if he takes over, he would expel 100s of naxals and LTTE sympathisers from the campus, and take such other measures that would create an uproar in Parliament. To defend his actions, he would need to be in Parliament and thus would need to be made an MP. But if becomes an MP, he can’t be a VC.

If he becomes a VC, a joint secretary from the HRD Ministry would often bother him with certain orders, and since he has been a Union minister it would be beneath his dignity to take orders from a lowly joint secretary. So if at all, he had to become a VC, the government first needs to upgrade his position to Cabinet status.

And finally, if he has to be give the status of a Cabinet minister, why would he need to become a VC and not a minister in the Union government?

It's safe to say the JNU VC offer is as good as dead.