Former BJP leader and ex-Union Minister Yashwant Sinha sprung a surprise as he joined the Trinamool Congress at its headquarters in Kolkata on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference, Sinha said, “This Assembly poll is crucial as far as India’s and Bengal’s future is concerned. There is no doubt that the TMC is coming to power once again with a thumping majority. Let there be a stern message from Bengal to the whole country against the misrule of (Narendra) Modi and (Amit) Shah.”
Terming this year’s assembly polls in Bengal as a semi-final before the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls, Sinha said, “Today’s BJP under Modi-Shah is different from Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure. Vajpayee used to believe in ‘prajatantra’ (democracy) but this duo believes in ‘conquer and ‘crush’. No one is with BJP because they are becoming a threat to our democracy. Look at their old allies Akali Dal, even they separated from the BJP. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, too, has dissociated from the BJP.”
“Mamata Banerjee is a fighter and I believe that in this election there will be a loud and clear message from Bengal against BJP. Not the least, this election in Bengal will decide the future of our country and will bring ‘parivartan’ (change) in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Let’s unite and fight against the forces that are not good for our country,” he added.
Sinha accused the Centre of destroying various institutions in the country.
Recalling Banerjee’s brave stand during Indian Airlines 814 flight hijacking case on December 24, 1999 in Kandahar (Afghanistan), Sinha said, “Then, a cabinet meeting was called. I still remember that day when Banerjee offered that she was ready to be there (terrorists) hostage but the terrorists must release all the abducted persons. She was ready for her ‘qurbani’ (sacrifice). This is just an example which time and again proved that she is a fighter. Today also she has emerged as a fighter and we all should help her in strengthening the party.”
On Saturday morning, Sinha met Banerjee at her Kalighat residence and discussed various issues for little less than an hour. After that he went to Trinamool Bhawan and joined the party in presence of senior party leaders like Subrata Mukherjee and Sudip Bandopadhyay.
“The strength of our democracy lies in the constitution, we need to strengthen it,” he added.
In November 1990, Sinha became the Finance Minister under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and stayed in office till June 1991.
His second tenure was under Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from December 1998 to July 2002. He was India’s Foreign Minister from 2002 to 2004.
He was a former IAS officer of the 1960 batch. He joined the Janata Party after quitting government service in 1984. Later, he joined the BJP.
This is not for the first time when Yashwant Sinha praised Mamata’s political acumen and ‘never give up’ attitude. In December 2018, he claimed that Mamata Banerjee has all the qualities to become a ‘good Prime Minister’.
When asked about the tipping point which forced him to join the TMC, he said, “The tipping point is attack on Mamata ji in Nandigram.”