Speculation mount on Rajan successor;Mkts brace for volatility

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New Delhi, Jun 20: Speculation mounted today on who will be the next RBI Governor amid political parties attacking the government and alleging RSS-BJP conspiracy for Raghuram Rajan's no to a second term, which the economists and former policymakers termed as a 'bad omen' for the Indian economy.

Industry and marketmen were also concerned about possible negative impact on the stocks, bonds and currency markets when they open tomorrow morning, while regulator Sebi and stock exchanges beefed up their risk management and surveillance mechanism to address any eventuality.

Speculation mount on Rajan successor

Though there was no official word, the rumour mills were busy on who would helm the central bank next, a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said a successor would be announced shortly for Rajan, whose term ends on September 4.

Deputy Governor Urjit Patel, former CAG Vinod Rai, SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu and Economics Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das were among those being speculated as possible contenders.

Attacking the government for Rajan's decision against a second term, main opposition party Congress alleged that some BJP and RSS leaders were lobbying against him and called it the "most unpleasant thing" for the country.

Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily said the present regime does not deserve a person of Rajan's stature, while RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said the people were feeling "very safe and secure" with the kind of measures taken by Rajan.

Taking a dig at Modi government, Congress leader Manish Tewari said it could appoint absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya as RBI Governor as he has "great experience" of banking system.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who ran a tirade against Rajan, took a jibe at the outgoing Governor saying whatever "fig leaf" he wants for hiding the reality, the people should not grudge it and wish him 'good bye'.

Stating that he would always be available to serve the country when needed, Rajan had yesterday said he was "open to seeing" through his unfinished work on containing inflation and cleaning up the books of banks, but said no to a second term "on due reflection, and after consultation with the government".

This was seen by some as indication that he could have been interested in a second term. Eminent economists said the government letting Rajan go would be seen by the world as India's non-approval to a policy against inflation and bad loans, while former Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram said it would be "very costly for the economy" and was not a "good omen".

PTI

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