Jaitley joins bugbear Swamy in questioning Rahul’s degree

The language Arun Jaitley spoke today to attack Congress president Rahul Gandhi is the parlance his bugbear in BJP Subramanian Swamy has championed

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अरुण जेटली Arun Jaitley

1. Arun Jaitley’s counter-attacks after Congress questioned Smriti Irani’s educational qualification
2. Jaitley questioned the educational qualification of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in his Facebook blog
3. But it is Subramanian Swamy who champions this ’cause’ of questioning the degree of not only Rahul’ but also of Sonia Gandhi
4. Swamy has troubled the finance minister for a full five years with conspiracy theories and an army of trolls
5. Are Jaitley and Swamy patching up?

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday made a counter-attack against the Congress’s act of questioning Textiles Minister Smriti Irani’s educational qualification by targeting Rahul Gandhi’s degree.

Jaitley said in his latest blog on Facebook that Congress had forgotten that a public inquiry into Gandhi’s academic qualifications could raise many questions and alleged that the Congress President had no masters degree but he had an M Phil!

While seeing Irani in the line of fire might have triggered Jaitley’s angry reaction, he ended up adding to the chorus of BJP’s maverick leader Subramanian Swamy who had been raising the issue for ages.

Swamy is believed to be behind the expose in The New Indian Express during the UPA rule, where a report had first claimed that the Congress leader’s degrees, in the name of a certain Raul Vinci, were dubious. At that point, even when the Congress had threatened legal action against the newspaper, the media house bravely stood by its story.

Jaitley and Swamy have no love lost for each other. The latter has said in interviews that the former was behind the BJP’s denial of the New Delhi constituency seat to Swamy for the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Not just that, Swamy has, for the five past years, gone after every high-profile officer in the Finance Ministry, making wild allegations against Arvind Subramanian and (present RBI governor) Shaktikanta Das. Swamy had questioned the Jet Airways-Etihad deal too.

Most glaringly, Swamy raised an army of trolls on social media who, for four of the last five years, constantly harped on a theory that the Indian economy was doing badly because of an ‘incompetent’ finance minister.

But the first salvo against Rahul Gandhi was fired in this season by Swamy. He wrote on Twitter, ‘Buddhu’s Cambridge Certificate says his name is Raul Vinci and he read MPhil and failed in National Economic Planning & Policy.”

“Buddhu” is the name Swamy uses on Twitter to refer to Rahul Gandhi while he calls Sonia “TDK”.

Jaitley joined the attack on Rahul this morning with his blog on Facebook. He wrote in an article titled “India’s Opposition is on a ‘Rent a Cause’ Campaign”, “One day the focus would be on the BJP candidate’s educational qualification, fully forgetting that a public audit of Rahul Gandhi’s academic credentials may leave a lot to be answered. After all, he got an M.Phil without a Masters degree! There is no running thread in the campaign which connects which is being said today or what has been said over the last several months.”

A suave Jaitley has been known to conduct his public life with utmost dignity, never speaking ill of political opponents. He has questioned Rahul Gandhi’s degree for the first time in his career. His act of speaking Swamy’s language in the election season has set tongues of political observers wagging about a possible reconciliation between two leaders in the ruling party who reportedly cannot stand each other.