leaders on Wednesday lauded senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha
for his critique of the Narendra Modi
government’s economic policies.
While Home Minister Rajnath Singh downplayed Sinha’s criticism, senior Congress
leader P Chidambaram
congratulated the former finance minister for “speaking truth to power”. “Very hard-hitting article,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Chidambaram said the Congress
was not using Sinha’s views (politically), and added the BJP
leader's statements only “coincides” with what the Opposition
party had been saying. The Congress
leader likened the formation of a new economic advisory council to “putting band aid on several broken limbs”.
Vice-President Rahul Gandhi
tweeted: “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your co-pilot and Finance Minister speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts and take brace position. The wings have fallen off our plane.”
said either BJP
leaders praise the PM or keep quiet out of compulsion and fear. Do you need any other proof of dictatorship and fascism?” Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad tweeted.
In his article, ‘I need to speak up now’, Sinha stated: “I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister (Arun Jaitley) has made of the economy.” Sinha, who finds himself ignored in the party and is a member of its ‘margdarshak mandal’, said people in the BJP
were not raising their voices “out of fear”.
“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 stated. Sinha questioned the economic growth figures, spoke about the impact of demonetisation
and goods and services tax (GST), and also said a revival by the time of the next Lok Sabha election was “highly unlikely” and a “hard landing” appeared inevitable.
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,” Chidambaram tweeted.
At a briefing of the Union Cabinet, the Home Minister was left to defend the government. “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,” Singh said.
vice-president, currently campaigning in Gujarat, said at a public meeting that the Modi
government had ignored the plight of the masses while extending favours to a select few. Addressing a small gathering near Chotila in Surendranagar district, Gandhi referred to Sinha’s article. “Today, I read an article written by Yashwant Sinha, who is a senior BJP
leader. He wrote that Modiji and Jaitleyji have destroyed the Indian economy.
This is not my view. This is the opinion of a BJP
leader,” Gandhi said.
“He even wrote that though BJP
leaders know that our country is in deep trouble, no one is ready to speak up as they are afraid of Modiji,” Gandhi said. The Congress
vice-president said the economy was in a shambles because the BJP
government never listens to farmers, youth, labourers, traders and women, who actually run this country. “People from BJP
listen only to businessmen and then tell the citizens their own Mann Ki Baat,” Gandhi said, taking a jibe at the PM’s radio programme. In 2015, Gandhi had termed the Modi
government a ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’, a government of and for moneybags.
leader Chidambaram lauded Sinha. He asked the “clueless” Centre how long it would hide behind Prime Minister Modi's rhetoric and party slogans. The former finance minister said Sinha had written what the Congress
had been saying for the past 18 months on “weaknesses in the economy” but was told to shut up. But the party would continue to speak “loudly and boldly on the disastrous path” the government has taken, Chidambaram said.
Targeting the government over high oil prices, Chidambaram accused it of “looting” the people. “We are happy Yashwant Sinha
has spoken the truth, echoed our views about economy...he has spoken truth to the power,” Chidambaram said.