Union minister Jayant Sinha has rejected suggestions that he wrote an article disputing former finance minister Yashwant Sinha’s contentions on the state of India’s economy at anybody’s bidding, insisting it was “absolutely out of his own conscience”. Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, yesterday also said his difference of opinion with his father was a “very serious discussion” and that it should not be seen “in a personal way”. “It was absolutely my own conscience… I reject any such charge that I was asked to write the article. I wanted to write the article,” he told a television channel, a day after Sinha Sr. kicked up a storm by criticising Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the economic “mess” in the country in an article in another national English daily. “It is a very serious discussion about the future of the economy and it should not be seen in a personal way,” Jayant said, adding the economy is shifting gears, and that it has slowed down a little bit so it can accelerate further.
Yesterday, Jayant offered a stout defence of the government’s economic policies which many saw as an attempt by the Modi dispensation to have Sinha Sr. cornered by his own son. “The discussion we are having through newspapers and television is a discussion I have been having with my father for many many weeks and months in the meetings I have with him. He asks difficult and tough questions as he should as somebody who knows the economy well,” Jayant said.
Yashwant Sinha, who was finance minister in the first NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while sticking to his guns about his criticism of Jaitley and the government, had said a response to his article should have come from the minister concerned or a spokesperson for the government. Referring to his son’s defence of the government, seen as a counter to his criticism of the Centre’s handling of economy, Sinha sought to know why Jayant was shifted from the finance ministry “if he was so competent” to address the concerns raised by him. Jayant got a lot of stick from his father, who spoke to several TV channels, over his defence of the economic policies of the government.
Sinha, however, said both he and his son were doing their “dharma” (duty). He insisted that the issue should not be seen as one between “father and son”. “If someone has asked him (Jayant) to write the piece, then it is a cheap trick to play…I have not spoken to him (on the issue). Will do it some time to find out (what exactly happened),” Sinha said.
Jayant was shifted out of the finance ministry in July last year. “It is the prime minister’s prerogative to decide (where) is it that you can make the most important contribution. Certainly, at the Civil Aviation Ministry, we have an important set of things to do,” Jayant said. About the article, Jayant said, “We welcome all opinions, suggestions, criticisms whether they come from my father, (former finance minister) Chidambaram or anyone else… I welcome my father’s suggestion”.