India’s ex-FM Yashwant Sinha quits BJP, floats forum to ‘save democracy’

Former Indian finance minister Yashwant Sinha (pictured) on Saturday announced his resignation from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Addressing the convention of his newly floated Rashtriya Manch or National Forum in Patna, Sinha said he, along with other free-thinkers, will use the Forum as a platform to save democracy which, according to him, is currently under threat.

He came down heavily on the BJP government for allegedly “influencing” the election commission and investigative agencies.

He also expressed concern over the way the Parliament is functioning. Recently, the temple of democracy witnessed the shortest session in its history.

Sinha had been a harsh critic of the BJP government’s policies, especially its demonetisation drive in November 2016. He had also expressed concern over the way it was trying to influence the media.

All along, Sinha had been claiming that he will never leave BJP which, he said, could sack him for his criticisms of the Modi government’s policies.

Sinha’s troubles with his party began after he opposed Modi being named the party’s future prime minister. Sinha probably thought he was a better candidate by virtue of his long experience as a politician and administrator. His son Jayant Sinha is in Modi’s cabinet.

Former Bollywood star and disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha participated at the Patna convention on Saturday along with Aam Admi Party leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh, and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejaswi Yadav.

As a politician, Sinha was influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan’s socialist movement of the mid-seventies. He was a civil servant but left the cushy job to join politics.

He had served as finance minister and external affairs minister in the cabinet of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee between 1998 and 2004.