Yashwant Sinha has made headlines in recent times with his acerbic comments on the government’s policies and the state of economy. His primary target was Arun Jaitley – a man who’s come to become the ‘punching bag’ of dissenters from within the party. But does he possess the moral right to question the government?
Sinha is a former minister who held two crucial portfolios – finance and external affairs – for more than six years under the Chandra Shekhar and Vajpayee governments. Although, to what extent the decision to make him the finance minister in the Chandra Shekhar government was based on merit is questionable because the Shekhar-led Samajwadi Janata Party-Rashtriya government had only about 60 MPs and was thin on availability of talent.
The ‘credibility and ethicality’ of the Chandra Shekhar government in which Sinha served is again worthy of doubt as the external affairs minister in that regime was Vidya Charan Shukla – one of the main protagonists of the Emergency – and the minister of telecommunications was Sanjay Singh, the ‘raja’ of Amethi.
Not only this but the coalition government was formed with outside support from the Congress, whereas Sinha had joined the Janata Party with the sole objective of fighting the Congress. Anybody reminded of Arvind Kejriwal?
Yashwant Sinha questioned Arun Jaitley holding two portfolios – finance and defence – while his boss Chandra Shekhar, had also kept the home and defence portfolios with him, but Sinha never had any issues with that.
In fact, giving Jaitley both the finance and defence portfolios was another brilliant move by Prime Minister Modi as the most serious lags that occur are those related to the MoD obtaining funds from the MoF for arms and ammunition purchases. With Jaitley heading both, this became very easy and quick decisions were made possible.
As far as Sinha’s term as finance minister is concerned, he remains to be the only finance minister who mortgaged over 60 tonnes of gold to the International Monetary Fund to tide over India’s balance of payments situation. His tenure broke the support of the middle-class for the BJP with several of his decisions.
Sinha has done close to nothing for the party on ground in Bihar and Jharkhand. Neither has he made any contributions in public life. Yet, he’s the one to preach.
There’s a reason why Sinha’s remarks shouldn’t be taken seriously. This isn’t the first time he’s spoken or acted against the current government; he’s done more outrageous things.
He’d visited Kashmir and met with separatists. This government had made it clear quite early on that they will not deal with separatists who utter pro-Pakistan rhetoric. Yet, a senior man like Sinha met with people who are known to receive funding from Pakistan and spread anti-India sentiment in the Valley. Sinha then submitted some kind of a report on how to bring Kashmir back to normalcy. No one took it seriously. Finding this irrelevance hard to digest, Sinha then began targeting Arun Jaitley.
He targeted Jaitley for GST. Now, there are temporary inconveniences, but the unanimous voice of investors and economists is that GST is a game-changer for India in the long-run. It was a tough reform to make as some may not vote for the government again owing to inconveniences, but for India it is a winner. Also, Jaitley did the near impossible task of bringing together all states and creating consensus amidst different parties, but he has received minimal credit for this herculean task.
Now, Sinha is seen amidst the likes of Manish Tewari and Kejriwal. A former finance and external affairs minister, a stalwart of Indian politics, taking the aid of insignificant politicians who are known for their offensive comments on the prime minister to remain relevant is a matter of shame for him.
He preaches the government, but has failed to uphold the same morals in his own public life. If he genuinely meant to address the issues that the nation is facing, then he would have done so behind closed doors, not in the manner he chose. His hypocrisy is there for everyone to see, so is his bitterness which stems from becoming irrelevant in the current affairs of national politics.
Sinha recently fancied himself as one of the Pandavas. If he seriously believes he is one, then why doesn’t he ask his son, Jayant Sinha, to leave the government? Just as the mighty Bhim sacrificed his son Ghatotkach and Arjun sacrificed his son Abhimanyu in the battle against Kauravas, Yashwant Sinha must ask his son Jayant to sacrifice his ministerial post. But we all know, that he won’t.