In an unprecedented move, former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha has joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ahead of the West Bengal Assembly election. The 83-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran joined the TMC in the presence of Sudip Bandopadhyay, Derek O' Brien and Subrata Mukherjee.
Since quitting the BJP in 2018, Sinha has been a staunch critic of Narendra Modi and his government. He stayed away from politics but decided to join the TMC because the country is in an extraordinary position.
“The country is in an extraordinary position. That is because, in the past, values were held in high regard, but today, those values are in danger,” he said.
“The strength of democracy lies in the institutions of democracy. Today all these institutions, including the judiciary, have become week.”
Sinha did not waste time in taking a swipe at the Centre, saying the present BJP government has no consensus. “The party during Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the party now are very different. Atal Ji believed in consensus, but today’s government believes in crushing and conquering,” Sinha said, adding that the Akalis and BJD have left the BJP. “Who is standing with BJP?” he asked.
Sinha also slammed the Modi government is not worried about anything. “Today the farmers are sitting on the streets of Delhi, but no one is worried about them. Education and health are all seeing bad days but, the government is not worried,” Sinha said.
The former Union Finance Minister said he is confident that the TMC will retain power with a majority. “There is no doubt that the TMC will return to power with a large majority. A message should be sent to the entire country from Bengal that whatever Modi and Shah are doing from Delhi, the country will not tolerate it,” Sinha said.
While Sinha joined TMC, his son, Jayant Sinha remains a BJP MP and former Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation and Finance under Modi’s first term from 2014-19.
The West Bengal election will take place in eight phases, starting March 27 and the results will be declared on May 2. The main focus will be on the contest between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her former protégé Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram.