Yashwant Sinha parts way, now to fight BJP from outside
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha continues to unleash salvos against the party which he served for more than two decades. He has been echoing the view of opposition for quite some time, especially after demonetisation. However, in recent days he has upped the ante against the central government by organising public meetings of non-BJP leaders, like minded intellectuals and activists in different parts of the country under the banner of ‘Rashtra Manch’--an outfit which he floated last year. On April 19, in a similar event in Patna he shared the dais with Congress leader Renuka Choudhry, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, rebel JD-U leader Uday Narayan Choudhry, RLD leader Jayant Choudhry, B.J.P M.P. Shatrughan Sinha, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh to explore opposition unity.
In the meeting he announced to quit BJP saying that he had left electoral politics in 2014 and now he is resigning from party politics. However, once again he stressed, ‘Democracy is under threat and I won't sit tight when there is a crisis’. Previously, a meeting of ‘Rashtra Manch’ with a similar objective was held in Mumbai.
On April 17, he wrote an open letter in a National Daily giving a call to party MPs to 'speak up and save democracy and the country'.
BJP strategy of largely ignoring the rebellious voices from within seems to have backfired in the case of Yashwant Sinha. Unlike leaders such as Arun Shourie and Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha is not restricting himself to just express opinions; rather he has taken the battle to the streets. For example, in the first week of February, he took part in a farmer agitation against acquisition of fertile land for a proposed NTPC plant in Gadarwara in Madhya Pradesh. In December last year he led a protest against “apathy” of Maharashtra’s NDA government towards farmers of Vidarbha region.
Indeed, Yashwant Sinha’s view on demonetization and shoddy implementation of GST had hurt BJP the most. BJP was expecting that as a Finance Minister in the previous NDA government he would back the party in these issues. More so, his opinion articulated through an article in The Indian Express published in September 2017 virtually went uncontested. BJP, in a not so decent move fielded his son Jayant Sinha, a Minister of State in central government to counter him. Jayant Sinha wrote a piece the next day in The Times of India which did not go down well to even many BJP sympathisers, as it was widely believed that Yashwant Sinha has sacrificed his seat to make way for him. Political observers are of the view that Finance Minister Arun Jaitely would have been a better choice to respond to the criticism made by Yashwant Sinha, rather than a civil aviation Minister who happens to be his son.
Questions are being raised in the manner in which he has been relentlessly raising the banner of revolt. Critics attribute it to his personal ambition. They allege that he had fancied himself for the post of Jharkhand CM or the head of BRICS bank. But his supporters refute the charges pointing out that when he had already announced the retirement from electoral politics in 2014, why will he aspire for such posts.
Some analysts are of the view that anger of Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha against BJP has something to do with the marginalization of Kayasthas within the party. This has happened in spite of the fact that the caste has stood strongly behind the party.
Whatever may be Yashwant Sinha’s motive, his activism against the government is certainly adding up force to the growing opposition vigour.