Mamata should be Congress chief after Italians leave: Subramanian Swamy

Swamy felt nation's democracy will weaken if we are left with BJP as a single party

Swamy Mamata collage A collage of Subramanian Swamy (via Facebook) and Mamata Banerjee (Salil Bera)

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has always stood out for his brazen attacks on the leadership of the Congress. And Swamy has not even shied away from blunt criticism of some policies of the Narendra Modi government.

On Friday, Swamy did a little of both in a tweet, offering advice on what the Congress should do. The Congress has been in a leadership vacuum after resignations of several top leaders, led by Rahul Gandhi in recent weeks.

Swamy claimed democracy would weaken if the BJP was left as a “single party”, perhaps alluding to its near-total domination of national politics. Swamy also claimed the Congress should ask the “Italians and progeny to leave”—in reference to Sonia Gandhi and her children—and then make Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee president of a “united” Congress.

Swamy tweeted, “After witnessing Goa and Kashmir, I feel that nation's democracy will weaken if we are left with BJP as a single party. Solution? Ask Italians & progeny to leav. Mamata can then be President of united Congi thereafter. NCP should also follow and merge.”

Swamy was apparently referring to the recent resignation of 10 of the 15 MLAs in the Goa Congress party, who shifted to the BJP on Wednesday. The Congress had been the single largest party in the Goa legislature in the 2017 elections, but the BJP, which formed a coalition government, has increased its strength steadily with byelection victories and defections.

While Swamy's reference to Kashmir is unclear, the state has been passing through political turmoil after the BJP parted ways with the PDP last year. The BJP won all seats in the Jammu and Ladakh regions in the Lok Sabha elections, highlighting polarised voting behaviour between these two regions and Kashmir.

Swamy has made no secret of his ambitions to be finance minister and has repeatedly expressed his disappointment at being ignored by the Narendra Modi government.

Swamy tweeted in late June, “China’s famous Tsinghua University has invited me to address in September a gathering of scholars to speak on 'China’s Economic Development: A Review Of Last 70 years.' Since Namo is not interested in knowing my views I might as well go to China.”

In response to a tweet asking why he does not join the Congress, Swamy affirmed “there is no alternative to the RSS for clean politics”. Swamy declared whatever concretely has been so far done for Ram temple “has been by three Congressi PMs—Rajiv Gandhi, Chandrashekhar, and Narasimha Rao.” He claimed all three had sought his advice. Chandrashekhar formed a short-lived government with the support of the Congress in 1990-1991.

However, in a barb at Sonia and Rahul, Swamy added, “but Italians have destroyed that party”.

Over the past decade, Subramanian Swamy has been at the forefront of legal challenges to Sonia Gandhi and her children, ranging from the AgustaWestland scam to the National Herald Case. Swamy has also alleged the academic degrees of Sonia and Rahul were not authentic.

However, 20 years ago, Swamy, as leader of the erstwhile Janata Party, had played a key role in bringing together Sonia and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa to plot the downfall of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government in April 1999. Swamy had then famously referred to the trio of Sonia, Jayalalithaa and BSP chief Mayawati as “Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga”.

Banerjee formed the TMC in January 1998 after splitting from the Congress. The NCP was formed in 1999 by a group of Congress leaders led by Sharad Pawar, who were opposed to Sonia leading the party.