New Delhi, Sep 29, 2017: Shortly after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called him a “job seeker at 80”, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha hit back saying “if I was a job applicant, Jaitley would not be there in the first place”.
Responding at Sinha’s scathing criticism of the state of the economy in a leading newspaper, Jaitley had said he does not have the luxury of being a former finance minister.
“Being a former finance minister, I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-II). I can conveniently forget the 15 per cent NPAs of 1998 and 2002 (during Sinha’s term as finance minister). I can conveniently forget the $4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative,” he said, in veiled attacks on both Sinha and predecessor P Chidambaram.
“Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts,” he said.
“Probably, a more appropriate title for the book would have been ‘India @70, Modi @3.5 and a job applicant @ 80,” he said, at the release of book titled India @70 Modi @3.5.
Yashwant Sinha had, in the Indian Express on Wednesday, written that he would fail in his national duty if he didn’t speak against “the mess the finance minister had made of the economy”.
The former finance minister painted a grim picture of an “economy in distress”. He said the government’s statistical changes in calculating GDP had inflated the figures by over 200 basis points, or 2 percentage points, annually. “According to the old method of calculation, the growth rate of 5.7 percent is actually 3.7 percent or less,” Sinha wrote.
He said “raid raj” has become the order of the day and the Income Tax department is investigating cases involving millions of people. “The Enforcement Directorate and the CBI also have their plates full. Instilling fear in the minds of the people is the name of the new game.”
Countering his father a day later, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said some “sweeping conclusions” were drawn from a “narrow set of facts”, missing the “structural reforms” transforming the economy.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said that Yashwant Sinha had highlighted what the opposition and Congress had been saying for quite some time. “After all, a young man who voted for the government thought he would get a job and a growing economy… I think it’s quite right that BJP is raising this concern,” he said, adding that the current dispensation had been in denial for too long.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala took a swipe at Jaitley, saying if desperate measures weren’t taken Arun Jaitley will son have the luxury of being a former finance minister himself.