Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha on Sunday accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of fudging Budget numbers to conceal the real fiscal deficit, PTI reported. At the Mumbai Lit Fest, Sinha said Sitharaman in her Budget presentation on July 5 had relied on estimates used in the Interim Budget of February 1, though the Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi had provided revised estimates.
“Because the revenue receipts had declined so considerably that she wouldn’t have claimed that fiscal deficit would be only 3.3% or whatever that claim was,” Sinha, a former finance minister himself, said. “She fudged the figures and it was so blatantly obvious that the figures were fudged.” Sitharaman had said at the time that “every number quoted in the Budget is authentic”.
Sinha added he called up a few MPs and appraised them of the discrepancy in Budget numbers. However, none of the MPs took up the matter in Parliament, he said.
The former BJP leader also claimed that the country was in a “mess” far more serious than imagined six months ago during the General Elections. He added that “an era of personal vendetta” seems to have begun, criticising the government for revoking the Overseas Citizenship of India status of writer Aatish Taseer.
Taseer’s citizenship had been revoked on the allegation that he had concealed that his father was Pakistani. He had written an article in May in TIME magazine, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “divider in chief”.
The former BJP leader also claimed that his son Jayant Sinha had been shifted to an “insignificant ministry” (civil aviation) because of his stance against the government’s policies.
Yashwant Sinha said he joined the BJP in 1993 because he had to make a choice between corruption and communalism, The Hindu reported. “I chose communalism over corruption when I decided to join the BJP,” he said. “At the time their core issues never came to the fore and I was never required to directly deal with them.”
Sinha said he did not know how long he would be allowed to speak against the government. “What is the point of being part of a Parliament where you are not allowed to speak?” he asked. “There is an element of fear that hangs over us. I do not know how long I will be able to enjoy my freedom.”