In a more setback for the nervous BJP in Gujarat, former finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Yashwant Sinha, will travel to poll-bound Gujarat on an invitation from an NGO supported by the Congress party.
Sinha, a veteran BJP leaders, had recently caused considerable embarrassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his scathing article condemning its economic policies.
Sinha, according to a PTI report, will be on a three-day tour of Gujarat starting 14 November.
While in Gujarat, he will interact with the business community and deliver lectures in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat, a Congress leader said today. The events are slated to be organised by the Loksahi Bachao Andolan (Save Democracy Campaign), an NGO supported by the Congress.
During his lectures, the former finance minister, whose son Jayant Sinha is a minister in the BJP-led central government, is likely to speak about demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the two steps which are being showcased as major economic achievements by the current dispensation.
Sinha, however, took to Twitter to clarify that his visit to Gujarat had no connection with Congress.
He wrote, “My program to visit Gujarat is totally no political and the Congress party has nothing to do with it. It was also fixed long ago. My Gujarat program could not materialise earlier because I am currently on a visit to the US.”
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had recently interacted with the traders of Rajkot on the GST and on the subject of ‘State of Economy’, though not under the banner of any political party.
The 182-member Gujarat Assembly will go to the polls in two stages on 9 and 14 December. The counting of votes will be taken up on 18 December.
In a recent newspaper article, Sinha had criticised the Centre and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in particular for the handling of the economy, which he said was on a “downward spiral and is poised for a hard landing”.
He had also written that many people in the BJP were aware of this reality, but not speaking up out of fear.
He had written, “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.”
Sinha had begun his newspaper article by singling our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for his criticism by mocking his appointment into the Modi government as an important minister despite losing Lok Sabha elections from Amritsar in 2014.
He wrote, “Arun Jaitley is considered to be the best and the brightest in this government. It was a foregone conclusion before the 2014 elections that he would be the finance minister in the new government. His losing his Lok Sabha election from Amritsar was not allowed to come in the way of this appointment. One may recall that in similar circumstances Atal Bihari Vajpayee had refused to appoint Jaswant Singh and Pramod Mahajan, two of his closest colleagues in the party, to his cabinet in 1998.”