New challenge to Nitish Kumar? Yashwant Sinha virtually announces return to party politics for Bihar elections

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Published: June 27, 2020 10:09 PM

Yashwant Sinha, who has been severely critical of the Narendra Modi dispensation's policies and style of functioning, left the door open to poll tie-up with the Grand Alliance in Bihar, which includes the RJD and the Congress.

Yashwant Sinha said it would be premature to divulge it but many leaders from Bihar were in touch with him over it.

Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Saturday virtually announced his return to party politics by saying that he will launch an outfit which will contest the assembly polls due later this year and dislodge the NDA government in the state to create a “better Bihar”. Sinha’s announcement, made at a meeting of his outfit ‘Rashtra Manch’ (National Forum) here, came as a surprise as he had taken ‘sanyas’ from party politics over two years ago and had vowed to work for saving democracy in the country. He had quit the BJP two years ago.

Sinha, who held the finance and external affairs portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and has been severely critical of the Narendra Modi dispensation’s policies and style of functioning, left the door open to poll tie-up with the Grand Alliance in Bihar, which includes the RJD and the Congress. “We will welcome everyone who comes and joins us,” he said. “So far as (Bihar assembly) elections are concerned my party will contest it. It’s not that I have any kind of reservation for contesting elections. We (the proposed alliance) will fight the polls with all our strength in order to create a better Bihar,” Sinha said.

Quizzed about the parties interested in the proposed alliance by him, Sinha said it would be premature to divulge it but many leaders from Bihar were in touch with him over it. About the name of his party, Sinha said he will announce it as soon as the decision on it is taken. The veteran political leader replied curtly when asked by reporters whether he himself would contest the assembly polls. “I will cross that bridge when I come to it,” he said.

Holding the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar “directly responsible” for the state’s “poor” condition, he came out with a slogan ‘Behtar Bihar Banao’ (Make a better Bihar) to dislodge the present dispensation. “The NDA government in Bihar headed by Nitish Kumar has not made the desired progress despite being in power for about 15 years,” he alleged and held it responsible for the “poor state of affairs” in almost all sectors affecting people’s lives.

“Until and unless the current dispensation is dislodged from the state, it will be quite difficult to work for making Bihar better. Dislodging the state government will be the first step for making a better Bihar,” he said. Tearing into the state government’s assertions of development, he said that despite its tall claims Bihar has remained at the bottom in various development indicators in the country.

Elaborating, Sinha said Bihar remained at the bottom of Human Development Index (HDI) for the past 27 years and the state ranks among the poorest on poverty index. This is evident from the fact that the state’s annual per capita income is Rs 47,541 which is one-third the national average. He said Bihar is also at the bottom of the list with regard to providing health care facilities and its farmers are among the poorest in the country. The state’s share in the total industries of the country is just 1.5 per cent. Sinha alleged that the law and order has collapsed and corruption is at its peak in the state as “nothing moves without bribe”.

“We will be coming out with a fact sheet every week on issues concerning and affecting various aspects of life … I will put it before the media along with facts and will not be beating ‘thali’ or clapping,” he said in a veiled reference to such activity during the Janata curfew on March 22 in support of those in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 at the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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