Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha joined the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata on March 13 ahead of the West Bengal elections.
Sinha, who served as Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Finance under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said that the alleged attack on West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee was the tipping point for him to join the TMC. Sinha, a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government, quit the BJP in 2018 claiming he was retiring from politics to unite non-BJP parties across India and restore democracy.
Sinha joined the TMC at Trinamool Bhawan in Kolkata in the presence of senior TMC leaders Derek O'Brien, Sudip Bandopadhyay and Subrata Mukherjee.
"The strength of democracy lies in the strength of the institutions of democracy. All these institutions including the judiciary have become weak now," Sinha said after joining the TMC.
Stating that the BJP has alienated its long-standing allies to ensure it wins at all costs, Sinha said, "BJP during Atal Ji's time believed in consensus but today's government believes in crushing and conquering. Akalis, BJD have left the BJP. Today, who is standing with BJP?"
Yashwant Sinha's son Jayant is still a member of the BJP and is a Lok Sabha member from Hazaribagh. Jayant Sinha served as Minister of State for Finance and Minister of State for Civil Aviation during Modi's first term as Prime Minister.
Yashwant Sinha's Political Career
Sinha served as an IAS officer from 1960 to 1984 when he resigned to join Jayaprakash Narayan's Janata Party. He served as the party's general secretary for three years before becoming the general secretary of the newly-formed Janata Dal. His first stint in the Parliament was in 1988 when he was elected to the Rajya Sabha.
Sinha had a seven-month tenure from November 1990 to June 1991 as the Union Finance Minister in Chandra Shekhar's government.
In the mid-90s, Sinha joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and was elected to the Bihar legislative assembly in 1995 and served as the leader of opposition for a year.
In 1996, he was made the BJP national spokesperson. Two years later, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Hazaribagh. He was re-elected in 1999 general elections and served as the Union Finance Minister in the NDA government from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004, he served as the Minister of External Affairs.
He lost his seat in the 2004 general elections but was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2005. He was re-elected from Hazaribagh in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but resigned as BJP's vice president following the party's poor showing in the elections.
He chose not to contest in the 2014 general elections giving up his seat to his son Jayant. Sinha, along with other senior BJP leaders like LK Advani, Jaswant Singh and Murali Manohar Joshi were sidelined by the party following Modi's commanding victory in 2014.
Sinha has regularly criticised the Modi government on its economic policies and has frequently stated that democracy is in danger in India. In a 2017 op-ed in the Indian Express, Sinha slammed Modi and the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the state of the Indian economy writing, "The economy is on a downward spiral, is poised for a hard landing. Many in the BJP know it but do not say it out of fear".
Sinha came down heavily on the Modi government's economic policies in his 2019 book "India Unmade: How the Modi Government Broke the Economy".
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