Senior BJP leader and former Union Finance minister, Yashwant Sinha has strongly criticised government in handling the economy. In an opinion piece published in a national daily, Sinha said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election, due in 2019, was “highly unlikely” and a “hard landing” appeared inevitable.
By the evening top central ministers Rajnath Singh and Piysuh Goyal defended the government and its policies on economic performance.
Criticising the BJP government’s handling of the economy, Yashwant Sinha, who was finance minister in Vajpayee cabinet, said he would be failing in his national duty if he did not speak up.
“Finance ministry, in the best of times, calls for the undivided attention of its boss if the job has to be properly done. In challenging times it becomes more than a 24/7 job. Naturally, even a superman like Jaitley could not do justice to the task,” he said.
“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,” Yashwant Sinha ended saying in his article.
The criticism by former BJP heavyweight has also armed the principal opposition party Congress, which has been taking on the Modi government off late over the issue of economy, in particular the fall in GDP.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is busy campaigning in the BJP fortress Gujarat, used Yashwant Sinha’s article targetting Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your copilot and FM speaking. Please fasten your seat belts and take brace position. The wings have fallen off our plane,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter as he shared the article.
Another Congress leader, former Finance minister P Chidambaram too chipped in with criticism of the government saying, “Yashwant Sinha speaks truth to power. Will power now admit the truth that economy is sinking?” on Twitter.
Quoting Sinha, Chidambaram said the truth is that the growth rate of 5.7 per cent is actually 3.7 per cent or less and that “instilling fear in the minds of the people is the name of the new game”.
“Eternal truth: No matter what power does, ultimately truth will prevail,” the Congress leader said.
But the criticism by Yashwant Sinha was downplayed by his party leadership.
Union Home minister Rajnath Singh said India economy is the fastest growing in the world and the country’s credibility has been established in the international arena.
“The whole world admits that India is the fastest growing economy in the world. No one should forget this fact. In the matter of economy, in the international arena, India’s credibility has been established,” he told the press in New Delhi.
While Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal strongly advocated government’s performance saying, “the kind of landmark reforms this government has undertaken is unprecedented”. Goyal also cited the implementation of GST as a step forward in transforming the economy.
(With inputs from PTI)