Disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha today led a group of politicians to join former Union minister Yashwant Sinha’s new political platform that seeks to take the Centre on. Yashwant Sinha said his ‘Rashtra Manch’, a political action group, would start a movement against the policies of the Central government. Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, NCP MP Majeed Memon, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta and JD(U) leader Pavan Varma were among those who attended the event marking the launch of the front. RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary and former Union ministers Som Pal and Harmohan Dhawan were also present. Shatrughan Sinha said he had joined the platform because he had not been given a forum in his party for expressing his views, but added that his decision to back the front should not be seen as an anti-party activity as it was in national interest.
Yashwant Sinha likened the present situation to that which prevailed 70 years ago when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, on this day, and said democracy and its institutions were under attack. He claimed that the Narendra Modi government had reduced farmers to “the status of beggars” and accused it of presenting “made to order” statistics to suit its interests.
The senior leader, however, claimed that the ‘Rashtra Manch’ would be a non-party political action group, and insisted that it was not against any party but would work to highlight national issues. “It is not an organisation but a national movement,” he said, hitting out at the government’s economic and foreign policies. “Everybody in the BJP is living in fear. We are not,” he said. Dialogue and debate in the country had become “coarse, one-sided and dangerous”, he added. “It seems mob has the job of giving justice,” he claimed. The first leg of the Budget Session of Parliament would effectively have only four working days, something that was unprecedented, he said. Taking up farmers’ issues would be the top priority of his organisation, said the 80-year-old leader, who had held the finance and external affairs portfolios in the first NDA government.