PM cuts Swamy to size over Rajan — finally

In remarks clearly aimed at Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today warned Bharatiya Janata Party leaders against breaking the party line and seeking publicity.

After Swamy's attacks on finance minister Arun Jaitley and Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, Modi said, "No one is bigger than the party. If someone is making comments to seek publicity it is wrong. I am very clear about this."

Modi spoke after he was specifically asked about the controversy over Rajan's removal from the Reserve Bank of India and Swamy's continued barbs against Jaitley and senior officers in the finance ministry.

Calling Rajan "no less patriotic", he virtually ticked off Swamy saying, "If anybody considers himself above the system then it is wrong.

"It is wrong to say that Rajan is less patriotic than us. It will also be unfair to say that he will not work for India's interests. I am sure wherever he works or whichever post he holds, Rajan will continue to serve India," the prime minister said.

Modi made it clear that he does not agree with the manner in which Swamy has been going about attacking finance ministry officials or his outbursts against Jaitley.

"Whether it is in my party or not, still I think such things are inappropriate. This fondness for publicity is never going to do any good to the nation. People should conduct themselves with utmost responsibility. If anybody considers himself above the system, it is wrong," the Prime Minister told Times Now.

The Prime Minister's comments assume significance in the context of finance minister Arun Jaitley and the BJP distancing themselves from Swamy's recent attacks on Rajan, chief economic advisor Arvind Subramananian and economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das.

In a related development, Jaitley, who cut short his visit to China by a day and returned to New Delhi on Sunday night, is likely to meet the PM on Tuesday evening, where he is expected to raise the issue of Swamy's statements against him.