Bharatiya Janata Party veteran Yashwant Sinha, who has been criticising the party’s leadership in recent months, resigned on Saturday. “Today I am taking “sanyas” from any kind of party politics, today I am ending all ties with the BJP,” ANI quoted Sinha as saying.
Sinha was addressing an event conducted by his recently-launched political action group Rashtra Manch, or National Forum, in Patna. “The biggest danger that the nation faces today is about the state and future of democracy,” the organisation’s Twitter handle quoted Sinha as saying. “I am going to dedicate the rest of my life to this mission. BJP, I RESIGN.”
Sinha also criticised the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s budget session. “The budget session was so small that it created history as it was the smallest. I say this with full responsibility that the Indian government did not let the house run,” News18 quoted Sinha as saying.
Several Opposition members such as Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tej Pratap Yadav, Congress’ Renuka Chowdhury, Aam Aadmi Party leaders Ashutosh and Sanjay Singh attended the event.
In response to his resignation, BJP national spokesperson Anil Baluni called Sinha a “puppet” of the Congress, ANI reported. “Yashwant Sinha has formally quit the BJP today. However, his latest viewpoints as well as interviews on TV channels did indicate that he was no more a BJP member, rather, a puppet of the Congress,” Baluni said. “Though he has quit today, in his mind he had left the party long ago.”
Sinha, a former finance minister, has been at loggerheads with the BJP since September, when he wrote an article attacking the government for the economic slowdown. The article led to verbal exchanges between him and other BJP members, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who called him a “job applicant at 80”.
Sinha, who had refused to quit the party, criticised the government for introducing five different slabs for the Goods and Services Tax. He had accused the prime minister of not meeting him, saying he had waited 13 months to get an appointment.
In an editorial on April 17, Sinha urged the party’s parliamentarians to “speak up in national interest” as the situation today demands it, referring to the rape cases in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao and Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua. He also highlighted the pressing concerns of the day, including women’s safety, the state of democracy and functioning of Parliament, the economic crisis as well as foreign policy.