Ahead of the 2014 general elections when word was out that the RSS wanted all BJP leaders who had crossed 75 years of age to withdraw from active politics, Yashwant Sinha, then 81, was the first one to opt out of elections.
By doing so, Sinha earned sympathy and quite a bit of admiration from the party brass and Parivar. And he also paved the way for Jayant, his son, to take the plunge in politics.
Jayant Sinha was just the kind of politician BJP under Narendra Modi was looking for. A technocrat par excellence boasting of a brilliant academic career, Jayant was happily inducted into the party as a candidate from Hazaribagh.
Given his credentials, Yashwant’s son was made the Minister of State in finance ministry, a deputy to PM Modi's close confidante Arun Jaitley.
Jayant completed his MBA. with Distinction from the Harvard Business School, MS in Energy Management & Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BTech with Distinction from IIT, Delhi.
He has been a partner in McKinsey & Company; a partner at Omidyar Network (ON) and a Managing Director at Courage Capital, a global special situations hedge fund.
A first-time MP who had been parachuted into BJP, Sinha junior’s induction into the finance ministry was indicative of two things — a compensation to Yaswant Sinha for his gracious act and an effort to groom Jayant in a Cabinet noticeably short of talent.
The former finance minister’s decision to withdraw from the 2014 general elections was all the more appreciable because other elders such as LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, BC Khanduri, Shanta Kumar and Jaswant Singh chose otherwise.
Jaswant and Yashwant presented contrasting pictures. The former contested as an Independent after being denied a party ticket and his son Manvendra, an MLA in Rajasthan, paid the price for it.
With his father thrown out of the party, Manvendra was not considered for a ministerial position despite the fact that he had spent long years going through the grind in BJP’s organisational structure.
Yashwant proved to be smarter than Jaswant, the two leading lights of Vajpayee government who in 2002 had swapped their ministerial positions — finance and external affairs.
But for all his deft moves, Sinha senior undid it all last Saturday.
What he purportedly said (and later denied) during a ‘Difficult Dialogues’ conference in Goa two days ago, published under suggestive headlines “Narendra Modi will meet the same fate as Indira Gandhi”, “India will consign him (Modi) to dust, wait for next elections”, has reportedly angered the BJP leadership.
Along with Advani, Joshi and Kumar, Yashwant has been critical of the current BJP leadership on many forums.
The party has been soft-peddling these remarks as an example of “in-house democracy”.
Many in BJP, however, believe that with Saturday’s comments, Yashwant has crossed the proverbial thin line, the Lakshman Rekha, by directly taking on Modi and predicting doomsday for him and the party.
Though he subsequently clarified and contended that his remarks had been “completely misunderstood” and “misinterpreted”, the damage has been done.
The unfortunate part is that his words would end up causing damage to son Jayant’s political career.
A senior BJP leader told Firstpost that “Yashwant Sinha can’t delink his politics from Jayant Sinha. After all, but for his father’s legacy, Jayant was a nobody in the BJP.
“Without any experience, without sweating out even for a day for the party, he was straightaway made an MP and a minister.
“Yashwantji should have considered that it was a reward for him, not for Jayant. By uttering those words in Goa, Yashwant has done immense harm to his son’s future prospects… bahut sade khadde hi khadde uske liye khod diyen hain… (he has some dug deep holes for his son)”
“Whether or not he is retained or dropped as a minister as and when the Prime Minister does a Cabinet reshuffle, Jayant has lost the party’s faith and confidence,” he felt.