War of words between Sinha, govt continues over economy

The BJP-led government also kept up the attack on Sinha as the latter slammed as "cheap" Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's "job applicant at 80" barb on him

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War of words between Sinha, govt continues over economy


Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who created a storm with his takedown of the government's handling of the Indian economy on Wednesday, continued to fire salvos.

"My biggest worry is what answer the BJP will give when it goes to the people for votes. They will ask about jobs and the promises it had made," Sinha told Zee Business in an exclusive interview.

"It seems that the government by using my son and Jaitley is trying to make the issue personal. But I will not fall prey to it and keep raising questions," he said.

The BJP-led government also kept up the attack on Sinha as the latter slammed as "cheap" Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's "job applicant at 80" barb on him.

"Yashwant Sinha was Finance Minister twice. 1991 was the year when the Indian economy saw its worst phase. Even the gold reserve of India had to be mortgaged," Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers' welfare Radha Mohan Singh said.

Hailing the NDA government for providing the "fastest growing Indian economy in the world for the last three years", Singh slammed the UPA governments for their "failed policies, corruption and scams". BJP spokesperson GVL Narasmiha Rao was more acerbic, suggesting that the remarks by Sinha are based on "personal frustration".

"The ten years of the UPA government at the Centre were one of the most corrupt ever. The reality is that Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram and many others are finding themselves jobless, and those who sympathise with such jobless leaders are also making an unfair criticism not based on facts, but based on one's personal frustration," Rao said.

The remarks by BJP leaders slamming Sinha came on a day when the latter went hammer and tongs against Jaitley, accusing him of making "cheap" remarks and saying that the Finance Minister's criticism of his work amounted to criticism of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had entrusted him with key ministries.

On Jaitley's "job applicant at 80" barb on him, Sinha said the Finance Minister did a great "disservice" to L K Advani as he first quoted the BJP veteran's advice that his remarks should be confined to issues and not involve personalities, and then went on to make a personal attack against him.

"So cheap is the remark that I consider it below my dignity to respond to it," Sinha said.

He reminded that he had given up his job in the IAS to join public life even as 12 years of service were left. Sinha recalled how he refused to become a Minister of State in the VP Singh Cabinet in 1989 due to some issues and how he was now "not active in politics" and "living a quiet life". "So if I was looking for a post, then first of all I would not have given up all these things I gave up," he said.

Sinha also recalled that he had presented five regular and two interim Union budgets.

Sinha was also caustic about the government's recent moves including setting up of the Constitution of the Economic Advisory Council saying, "Let's see what great pearls of wisdom they come out with. Nothing has happened so far, so I will wait for some action before I make my comments."

Speaking at a separate event, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said, "Of course, you have to take temporary pain for long-term gain. I am not getting into this arena. There are other people who are debating, using their skills, forgetting what they have done, what has to be done, what needs to be done."

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