- BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha says economy is a “mess”, will worsen
- Wrong to judge economy by slump in last quarter: BJP sources
- GST, note-ban will deliver long-term, say BJP sources
Yashwant Sinha’s ruthless smackdown of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is motivated by his frustration, which he shares along with another sidelined leader, Arun Shourie, said sources from the BJP today, asking not to be named.
Writing in the Indian Express today, Mr Sinha, the country’s former finance minister, indicted Mr Jaitley for making a “mess” of the economy, which, he says, owes it ruin partly to the hurried introduction of the national sales tax, the GST, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shock ban last year of high-denomination notes.
Mr Sinha warns that the rural distress which has farmers caught in debt, will worsen. “The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters,” says the veteran leader.
Till early this evening, Home Minister Rajnath Singh was the only top BJP leader to comment on record on Mr Sinha’s criticism. “India’s record is well known across the world. It is one of the fastest growing economies,” he said. Mr Jaitley has not commented on the controversy yet.
Other BJP leaders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the slump in India reflects a global slowdown and that it’s unfair to assess the economy as in crisis only on the performance of the last quarter, when it declined to 5.7 per cent, its lowest in three years.
Mr Sinha’s son, Jayant Sinha, is a minister in PM Modi’s government. In 2014, after Prime Minister Modi’s whopping victory, he was removed from the BJP’s top decision-making body and parked, along with party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manhoar Joshi, on the margdarshak mandal or committee of mentors. The move was seen as punishment for senior leaders who had opposed Mr Modi being named as their party’s presumptive prime minister.
BJP sources today suggested that it’s this involuntary retirement that Mr Sinha is seeking to avenge. They claimed that the GST, which replaces a jumble of central and state tariffs, and demonetisation, will both deliver strong long-term results.