Adding to the already heated political drama in West Bengal, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joined the Trinamool Congress yesterday. Sinha had resigned from BJP in 2018, and become a very bitter critic of the Narendra Modi government and the BJP. He had subsequently teamed up with left-wing propagandists like Prashant Bhushan to launch attacks on the government.
However, this is not the first time the former union minister has changed his political leaning. His entire political career is marked with switching loyalties, changing party affiliations, changing viewpoints on various matters. This is an account of his various moves in the last several decades.
Yashwant Sinha, always quitting something and going somewhere else.
- Mr. Sinha was a bureaucrat and cultivated his image as a poor man’s bureaucrat in his initial days as private secretary to the legendary Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur.
- He quit his IAS post and joined politics as a member of the Janata Party in 1984.
- When the Janata Dal was formed in 1989, Sinha, a founding member, was appointed the party’s general secretary. He refused to join Vishwanath Pratap Singh’s government as he thought Minister of State was not a ‘suitable post’.
- Later, he became the Finance Minister for Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.
- Once Chandrashekhar’s future began to become bleak, he deserted Chandrashekhar and moved to the BJP.
- He was given great respect and important posts by the BJP including Minister of Finance but when he felt the BJP’s star was dipping, he began to speak against the BJP leadership even back in 2009 itself by attacking the party leadership!
- After hanging around and becoming certain by 2014 that he wouldn’t get any posts, he quit the BJP.
- Then Mr. Sinha started to be seen with supposed critics of the government and opposition parties. He was seen on the stage with Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal at a rally in Delhi.
- He deserted that also and now joined the TMC.
- This political migratory bird is only concerned about his own position and benefits, and has no ideology or principles!
Yashwant Sinha, the sulking benefactor within BJP
- When he saw the fortunes of the Janata Dal declining in the 1990s, he jumped ship to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- Despite being an import, he was accorded respect and was appointed Finance Minister in March 1998. He was later also appointed as Minister for External Affairs.
- In 2004, he lost elections for the Lok Sabha seat of Hazaribagh. Despite that, he was made the Vice President of the Party.
- In 2009, when the BJP lost elections once again, Mr. Sinha instead of standing with the party chose to attack other leaders in the party. In his resignation letter, Mr. Sinha remarked that ‘it appears as if some people in the party are determined to ensure that the principle of accountability does not prevail so that their own little perch is not disturbed’.
- This has been a feature of his character. When the times are good, he stays for the benefits. In tough times, he starts turning against his own colleagues!
- In 2014, his son Jayant Sinha was given a ticket from Hazaribagh and post his victory even made Minister by the present Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, holding different portfolios at different times. Even now, he is the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Finance, despite Mr. Sinha’s dour behaviour towards the present government.
The Naraz Fufaji syndrome, on display since 2014
- Mr. Sinha since 2014 has exhibited the ‘Naaraaz Fufaji’ behaviour since 2014, apparently for not being taken in as Minister. Reflecting his anger on the issue in 2015, Mr. Sinha said that “All those who are above the age of 75 were declared brain dead on May 26, 2014.”
- Mr. Sinha worked with former Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav to chalk out plans to bring together different groups working on Kashmir for a national conclave in the capital this month, which will attempt to ‘seek a unified voice on resolving the Kashmir unrest and restoring peace’. We all know what such agenda on Kashmir means.
- Finally revealing his real ambitions in 2019, Mr. Sinha threw his hat in the race for prime ministership when he declared himself as the “closest” person who could deliver on job creation, building roads, townships and industries. That month, he even told the Outlook that he had regretted the decision to nominate PM Modi’s name for the PM candidate in 2014 as if Modi became PM because of him.
- In August 2018, Mr. Sinha was part of a press conference claiming that Bofors pales into insignificance before Rafale ‘scam’. It is well known that Rafale was a clean and clear deal.
- Mr. Sinha even joined hands with a rabidly anti-national person such as Prashant Bhushan on the Rafale matter.
- In 2019, after the massive BJP victory under PM Modi, Mr. Sinha continued to rail against the government. He was critical of the watering down of Article 370.
- P. Chidambaram has in the past remarked that ‘Yashwant Sinha’s tenure as FM was worst since 1991’. Despite this insult, Sinha today has found a common cause with Congress.
- In the latest display of opportunism and attempting to stay relevant, Mr. Sinha has joined the Trinamool Congress on 13 March 2021.
- His agenda is just to side with anything that opposes PM Modi.
A series of second chances
- In 2004, Yashwant Sinha lost elections from the Lok Sabha seat of Hazaribagh. Despite that, he was made the Vice President of the Party by BJP. Immediately after, BJP sent him to Rajya Sabha too.
- Despite others being far ahead of him, the BJP side-lined several others and made him the leader of the opposition in Bihar. Today he can be seen supporting Lalu against the very same BJP.
- Yashwant Sinha wasn’t even Atal Ji’s pick for the post of Finance Minister. Observers noted that his mismanagement during the UTI scam and tax treaty with Mauritius caused Atal Ji to remove him. He had at that time gone out of the way to appease the RSS, an organisation which he is attacking so badly today.