Above: Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan speaking during a news conference in Mumbai. Photo: UNI
The Aam Aadmi Party offered former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan one of its three seats in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in January
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) new bet to push Raghuram Rajan to the Rajya Sabha as its candidate fell flat as the former Reserve Bank of India Governor on Thursday (November 9) declined the offer. Rajan has chosen to pursue his career as an academician instead of entering politics.
A statement was released from his office at the University of Chicago, where he is currently teaching: “While Professor Rajan is engaged in a variety of educational activities in India, he has no plans to leave his full-time academic job at the University of Chicago,” read the statement.
Sometime back, when his name was hot for the RBI Governor’ seat, there was a controversy over Rajan’s nationality. Rajan, then had made it clear that he was a green card holder which definitely does not mean that he is not an Indian. This is important because if Rajan “considers” the offer, as is being said by AAP leaders, he will have to prove his nationality as only an Indian citizen can hold the post.
Arvind Kejriwal had offered Rajan one of the three Rajya Sabha seats that would fall vacant in January, 2018. The party plans to field professionals, like Rajan, for the post. The soon-to-expire Rajya Sabha berths are currently occupied by Congress leaders Dr Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi. With a majority of 66 seats in an Assembly of 70, the party would easily win all the contesting seats.
The decision to choose professionals like Rajan, rather than fielding their own leaders, most probably comes in the wake of an intellectual void in the party. With the ousting of Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan and Kejriwal’s feud with his former confidante Kumar Vishwas, there is a lack of a dedicated cadre in the party. By not fielding Vishwas as one of the candidates, the crack inside the party would be more evident since Vishwas has made it clear in the past that he wishes to be a Rajya Sabha member of AAP.
Rajan’s inclusion in to the Rajya Sabha would also fill the desperate need for an orator and an expert on issues of economy and social sector in the Parliament. With the CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury exiting the Rajya Sabha this year, the Upper house of Parliament lacks someone who can counter the government’s rhetoric head on with sound arguments.
—India Legal Bureau