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Out of BJP, Yashwant Sinha set for more battles

Yashwant Sinha has been a vocal critic of Narendra Modi’s style of governance. On Saturday, he finally quit the BJP, stressing that “democracy is in danger”.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2018 20:13 IST
Yashwant Sinha,Yashwant Sinha quits BJP,BJP
Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha speaks during the 'Rashtra Manch' meeting at Shri Krishna Memorial Hall in Patna on Saturday. (PTI)

Yashwant Sinha who has been at loggerheads with the BJP’s top brass ended his association with the party on Saturday but not his battle with the ruling dispensation.

A bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his style of governance, Sinha said in Patna that he was taking this step to save democracy, which he said was “under threat” with the government undermining democratic institutions.

“I am taking sanyas (retiring) from party politics…I am not going to be a member of any other political party,” Sinha, whose son Jayant Sinha is the Union minister of state for civil aviation, said at a meeting of ‘Rashtra Manch’ which he launched earlier this year.

Rashtra Manch was launched by Sinha in January along with BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, another detractor of the Modi government.

In January, Sinha had said he would not quit the BJP, but dared the party to throw him out if it so wished. He along with Patna Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha and former Union minister Arun Shourie have been trenchant critics of Modi.

A former Union finance and external affairs minister, Sinha said being a citizen of India was a bigger thing than being a BJP member.

Ever since he was sidelined along with Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, he has clashed with the government at regular intervals. While Advani and Joshi are MPs, Sinha did not contest the 2014 elections. His son and civil aviation minister Jayant Singh contested from the seat he used to represent – Hazaribagh in Bihar.

His frequent criticism of Modi and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, often prompted BJP supporters to take pot shots at him that he was an “80-year-old job aspirant” who was bitter for not landing the finance ministry portfolio.

The latest provocation for Sinha to quit the party was the washout of the second half of the Budget session of Parliament.

On Saturday, he accused the BJP of disrupting the Parliament session to not allow the opposition to bring a no-confidence motion. He also dismissed the claims made by Prime Minister Modi that it was the opposition which had disrupted Parliament.

Sinha also took a swipe at Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for not calling for voting on the no-confidence motion raised by the opposition which he said was “amounting to mocking of democracy.”

He also accused Prime Minister Modi of reducing the duration of Lok Sabha session to campaign for the upcoming Karnataka polls. “It has never happened in any part of the country.”

Last September, Sinha had severely criticized the government’s economic performance in a hard-hitting opinion piece, insisting that the economy was virtually in a freefall and was headed for a head landing.

In January when he launched the Rashtra Manch, he had alleged that the government was targeting those who do not fall in line with it.

“Investigating agencies are being used against people who think differently. Due to this, outside of the BJP, an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the entire country,” he had alleged.

He had also criticized the government for failing to address unemployment, education-related woes and farmers’ problems since it came to power.

Sinha, who joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1960, held several posts during his 24-year tenure before resigning from service to join the Janata Party. He was appointed All-India General Secretary of the party in 1986 and was elected member of the Rajya Sabha in 1988.

When the Janta Dal was formed in 1989, he was appointed its General Secretary. He worked as Minister of Finance from November 1990 to June 1991 in Chandra Shekhar’s Cabinet.

He joined the BJP in the mid-1990s and became the national spokesperson of the BJP in June 1996.

He was appointed finance minister in March 1998. He was appointed as Minister for External Affairs on July 1, 2002. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2004, he was defeated in Hazaribagh. He re-entered the Parliament in 2005.

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 19:19 IST