Bhopal: Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated references to Pakistan while campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Friday claimed the party is deliberately bringing up Pakistani threats as mentioning China would not arouse the same emotions.
“Modi’s 56-inch chest is only for Pakistan and it shrinks to six inches when the Chinese threat is mentioned,” said the former External Affairs minister, criticising Modi’s foreign policy.
To drive home his point on Modi’s faulty foreign policy, the veteran leader invoked late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had written to the United States about the 1998 nuclear tests. Vajpayee then had attempted to ‘de-hyphenate’ India and Pakistan while pushing for Delhi’s right to build a nuclear arsenal.
Sinha said Vajpayee’s was an attempt to distinguish between India and Pakistan, indicating to the global community that the nations were not at par with each other.
“By invoking Pakistan all the time, PM Modi has made the mistake of hyphenating the two nations once again,” said the former bureaucrat-turned-politician.
The former BJP leader also claimed that Vajpayee was set to dismiss Modi, Gujarat chief minister at the time, after the 2002 post-Godhra riots, but withheld the decision as home minister LK Advani had threatened to resign from the Cabinet on the issue.
"After the communal riots in Gujarat, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had decided that then state chief minister Narendra Modi should resign. While going to the national executive committee meeting in Goa in 2002, Atal ji had made up his mind that the Gujarat government would be dismissed if Modi ji refused to resign," he claimed.
"There was a meeting within the party. According to my information, Advani ji had opposed this (dismissing the Modi government) and he told Atal ji that if Modi ji is dismissed then he (Advani) would resign from the government. So, he (Vajpayee) withheld the decision and Modi ji continued," Sinha said.
Sinha also pointed out that mentioning China would not have aroused the same sentiments, and that Beijing is happy to see the two neighbours tangled with each other. “Why is there no mention of Doklam in PM Modi’s speeches?” he asked.
Sinha sought to attack the government on its Jammu and Kashmir policy, claiming that Modi hadn’t responded to his pleas for an appointment in 2016 after militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter. Sinha, as a former member of the cabinet committee, was making efforts to mediate between parties at that point.
“I guess they wanted to keep the J&K issue alive till the 2019 polls despite expressing faith in Vajpayee government’s policy at the time of forging an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” he said.
Sinha said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, through actions such as demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and others, had indicated that he requires an understanding of financial issues.
Sinha added that the economic growth was much better under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He also accused the current government of changing the methods of GDP calculation to project an inflated growth.
Sinha claimed the government would leave the country’s economy in shambles and the new dispensation would have a lot to do, including bringing out a white paper on economic conditions, demonetisation, GST and others.
Criticising the low level of language in political discourse, Sinha said Modi was primarily responsible for this.
Sinha also questioned why no probe had been ordered till now into the Pulwama terror attack on February 14, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.