From Advani’s go-to person to Modi’s biggest critic: Who is Yashwant Sinha, Opposition’s joint presidential candidate?

In 1988, Yashwant SInha became a Rajya Sabha MP, before being inducted in the Bharatiya Janata party by Lal Krishna Advani in 1993.

On Saturday, while urging all MLAs and MPs to pay heed to their conscience while voting, Sinha said that the ruling party at the Centre is crushing democracy by snatching other parties' right to oppose.

From a bureaucrat to becoming the Union Finance and External Affairs minister under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government to contesting presidential elections against a yet-to-be announced NDA candidate at present, Yashwant Sinha has donned multiple hats over the years. Sinha’s political journey started with Janata Dal after he had left the Administrative services back in 1984. 

In 1988, he became a Rajya Sabha MP, before being inducted in the Bharatiya Janata party by Lal Krishna Advani in 1993. Thus, began his longest political stint with a party spanning over two-and-half decades.

After reaching the zenith of his political career in the 1999-2004 Vajpayee government where he was handed key portfolios, he eventually fell out with his mentor Advani, and then became quite critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies in the years leading up to his quitting the party in 2018, after gradually being sidelined.

Sinha gradually faded into oblivion, after his party lost to the Congress in the 2004 General Elections. In 2005, Sinha turned against mentor Advani and called for his stepping down from the Leader of Opposition post after Advani heaped praises on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, while visiting Pakistan. In 2014, after Modi came to power, the three-time Lok Sabha MP from Jharkhand found his voice fading within the party. While still trying to remain relevant, Sinha became a strong critic of the government’s policies. Eventually, he quit the party in 2018, while saying that the party has become a “threat to democracy.”

In 2019, he finally joined the Trinamool Congress. He was soon elevated to the National Vice-President post. Cut to the present, Sinha on Tuesday quit from his party post, just before he was named as the consensus presidential candidate from the Opposition camp.

While resigning from the party ahead of the announcement, Sinha tweeted: “I am grateful to Mamataji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in the TMC. Now a time has come when for a larger national cause I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure she approves of the step.”

One can say Sinha has chosen to fight a losing battle, where the odds are highly in favour of the ruling BJP party. With only few votes short of the 50% majority, the BJP only needs the support of either BJD or YSR Congress, both who have skipped the Oppostion meet, to see their candidate through. While Sinha has chose to stand against the ruling BJP’s choice of presidential candidate, his son Jayant Sinha still remains with BJP and is an MP from his former constituency Hazaribagh.

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