NEW DELHI — Subramanian Swamy abhors false humility, and that is why the Harvard-educated economist and Rajya Sabha lawmaker feels no need to conceal his desire to be India's next Finance Minister.
In fact, the outspoken and controversial leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is often critical of his own party and its polices, laid out why the economy has been "terrible" under the Modi government, and why he—a former professor of economics at Harvard University — would be a far better Finance Minister than Arun Jaitley. "I will abolish income tax on Day 1," he said.
Swamy, a six-time parliamentarian whose wife is Parsi and son-in-law Muslim, is an unapologetic proponent of Hindu nationalism, but his public standing stems from his legal work against corruption.
The 79-year-old politician, who exposed the 2G scam under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and ensnared former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in the Disproportionate Assets case, is currently litigating anti-corruption cases against Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and P.Chidambaram, and he is also looking to prosecute Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. Swamy feels the Modi government has not done enough to expose corruption in the past four years. "Right now, I find the Ministry of Finance is blocking the prosecution of many Congress leaders. I have attacked some members of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). I have raised questions about people in the CBI. That part is weak," he said.
While he continues giving heartburn to people within his own party, Swamy believes he is the second most popular person after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the BJP. Since April 2017, when HuffPost India interviewed him, Swamy's Twitter following has increased from four to nearly eight million followers. In a conversation last week, Swamy explained why Hindutva will override the economic failures of the Modi government, and why the BJP will return with an absolute majority, with...