Too early to predict Priyanka impact on UP results: Yashwant

Congress may enter a tactical understanding with the BSP-SP, says former finance minister

  • Published 29.01.19, 2:57 AM
  • Updated 29.01.19, 2:57 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Yashwant Sinha The Telegraph file picture

Former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday expressed confidence that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into politics would make an impact on the elections but he steered clear of forecasting its effect on the electoral battleground of Uttar Pradesh.

Asked for his views on Priyanka’s foray, Sinha said the reams of reportage Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s sister got since the announcement showed that she had already made an impact before taking her first formal step into politics.

On how her entry would affect the Opposition’s chances in Uttar Pradesh by making it a three-cornered fight, Sinha was less certain.

“It is still early days,” he said during an interaction with the media at the Indian Women’s Press Corps. He was responding to a question on how Priyanka’s entry into politics would impact the BSP-SP’s chances to corner a large share of the vote in Uttar Pradesh.

While flagging the theory that the three-way contest may benefit the BJP, he said there was always the possibility of the Congress entering into a tactical understanding with the BSP-SP to ensure that the Opposition benefited.

On the state of the Indian polity, Sinha dwelt at considerable length on the breakdown of institutions to the point that there is an “undeclared emergency” in the country. “Cabinet has ceased to matter. Power is concentrated in one person and in one office.’’

He strung together instances of how the four senior-most ministers -– the ones who are part of the Cabinet Committee on Security -– are kept out of the loop on key decisions in their own ministries:

  • The home minister did not know of the withdrawal of support to the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The defence minister was not consulted before the Prime Minister announced the decision to buy 36 Rafale jets.
  • The finance minister did not know about demonetisation.
  • The foreign minister never accompanies the Prime Minister on foreign tours.

“This is the state of the senior-most ministers of the government,” Sinha said.

On the BJP’s charge that there is no alternative in the Opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the former BJP leader said: “The same was said after Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi.”

Pointing out that there had been occasions in the past when the nation has had to contend with a powerful Prime Minister and pooled resources to fight such a phenomenon, he said the leader always emerged afterwards.

Further, he countered: “Who was projected as chief minister for Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana?”

Of the view that the BJP wants to turn this into a presidential election once again, he repeated what he said at the Opposition rally in Calcutta: “Modi is not the issue. Make issues the issue.”

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