Veteran politician and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha on Saturday announced his plan to exit BJP and made it clear that he will not be joining any other political party for the moment. "I end all my ties with the BJP," he said during an Opposition rally in Patna.
While Sinha's Saturday announcement was unexpected, it wasn't surprising. Over the past few months, Sinha had become a dissident voice within the BJP, criticising the central and BJP-ruled state governments' economic policies and governance.
Sinha had also launched a political platform 'Rashtra Manch' recently to take on the NDA-led Central government. Some of Sinha's top remarks against the Narendra Modi government — some of which he also highlighted on Saturday to justify his sudden exit from BJP — were on demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the recent cash crunch in ATMs. Here's a look at few of them:
On cash crunch
On Thursday, Sinha voiced his concern in a television interview over the cash crunch in ATMs that reportedly hit several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka.
Calling it a case of "complete mismanagement" on the part of both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government, Sinha said the magnitude of the crisis is huge and the RBI did not have a backup plan to deal with such a situation.
"From the information which is tumbling out every day, it would appear that not only the crisis is widespread...the magnitude of the crisis is huge," Sinha said.
On the state of economy
In September 2017, Sinha, who was finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, told reporters that he won't remain silent on national issues.
"There was a constant downfall in the economy but I did not speak. We cannot blame the previous government any more because we have been in power for 40 months and got full opportunity to correct things," he said.
He also advised the Modi government that if people like former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former finance minister P Chidambaram speak on the economy, it should listen to them.
On GST and demonetisation
Sinha has been a constant critic of demonetisation and GST since the time of their introduction in the public system. While delivering a speech at a Pune-based organisation in November 2017, Sinha said the implementation of the GST in India was a "textbook example" of how it should not be introduced.
"The GST is the best indirect tax regime globally and there is no doubt about it and that is why it is adopted in most of the countries. But the way GST was implemented in India is a textbook example of how the tax reform should not be implemented anywhere," he said, adding that the rolling out of the tax should be a case study at Harvard and other universities.
Speaking on demonetisation at the same event, Sinha said that the rich people did not suffer any hardships and it was the poor who stood in the queue and lost their lives.
In the same month, Sinha compared Modi to the 14th-Century Sultan of Delhi, Mohammad bin Tughlaq. "There were many 'shahenshah' (emperors) who brought their own currency. Some even kept previous currency in circulation while introducing the new one. But, there was a shahenshah 700 years back, Tughlaq, who introduced his own (currency) while discontinuing the old currency," he said at a function in Ahmedabad.
"Thus, we can say that demonetisation was done 700 years ago. Though Tughlaq is infamous for shifting his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, he has also done demonetisation," Sinha had said.
After the four senior-most Supreme Court judges came out publicly against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in January, Sinha urged his then BJP colleagues and ministers to "get rid of their fear" and "speak up for democracy".
He also compared the prevailing atmosphere in India to the Emergency in 1975-77. "Like the chief Justice of India in the Supreme Court, the prime minister is also first among equals in the government and his Cabinet colleagues should speak up," he said at a press conference.
He also claimed that he was "personally aware of the fear in which members of the Cabinet in this government are working, and that also is a threat to democracy".
On Kashmir issue
In an October interview to The Wire, Sinha attacked the government over its policies with respect to Kashmir, and remarked that "India has lost people of the Valley emotionally".
"I am looking at the alienation of the people in Jammu and Kashmir. That is something which bothers me the most… We have lost the people emotionally… You just have to visit the Valley to realise that they have lost faith in us," Sinha said.
Sinha also said that he has sought an appointment with Modi to discuss the issue ten months ago and was "hurt" as it did not materialise.
"I am hurt. I am absolutely hurt. That you ask for time, 10 months have gone by… Let me tell you, ever since I have been in public life, no prime minister of India, starting with Rajiv Gandhi, has ever said no to a meeting I have sought… no prime minister has said to Yashwant Sinha, ‘I don’t have time for you.’ And this is my own prime minister who has treated me like this," he said.
On allegations against Jay Shah
In October 2017, Sinha criticised the Centre for defending BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay over allegations hurled against him and said it thus lost its high moral ground.
"The manner in which a Central minister jumped into the fray... He is a central minister, not a chartered accountant of Jay Shah," Sinha told NDTV.
Sinha also criticised the government for allowing Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to take on the case of Jay Shah. "These were avoidable and should not have happened. The very special circumstances in which the additional solicitor general has been cleared to defend the concerned person also raises some issues and that was also to my mind avoidable.
"Looking at all these, therefore, perhaps the high moral ground that we had occupied all these months and years somehow appears to have been lost," said the former finance minister.
Jay Shah's company has reportedly recorded a turnover of Rs 80 crore in 2015 after showing just Rs 50,000 the previous year.
Updated Date: Apr 21, 2018 15:45 PM