File photo of Yashwant Sinha. 

Yashwant Sinha Quits BJP

Severing ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party, former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who has been critical of the current party leadership, announced on Saturday that he is quitting party politics, and will now work for “saving democracy in the country.”

“I have had a long association with the BJP. Today I am severing my ties with the BJP,” the 80-year-old leader announced at a meeting attended by opposition leaders from the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal besides dissident BJP leader and Patna Sahib Member of Parliament Shatrughan Sinha.

Yashwant Sinha, however, made it clear that he would not join any other political party.

Four years back I had quit electoral politics. Now I am taking ‘sanyas’ from party politics.
Yashwant Sinha

Representatives of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress were also present at the meeting hosted by ‘Rashtriya Manch’ (National Forum) that Sinha had formed on Jan. 30 as an ‘apolitical forum’ to highlight the alleged “anti-people” policies of the Centre.

Sinha, who has been at loggerheads with the party leadership, alleged that democracy was under threat under the present government.

A bureaucrat-turned politician, Sinha became an IAS officer in 1960 and held several important administrative posts in Bihar as well the central government during his 24-year tenure as a bureaucrat. He served as the Principal Secretary to then Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur in 1977. Influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan, Sinha resigned from the IAS in 1984 and joined active politics as a member of the Janata Party. He was appointed all-India general secretary of the party in 1986 and was elected member of the Rajya Sabha in 1988.

When the Janta Dal was formed in 1989, he became its general secretary. He worked as Minister of Finance from November 1990 to June 1991 in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet.

Following a split in the Janata Dal, Sinha shifted to the BJP and became its national spokesperson in June 1996. He served as Union Finance Minister from 1998 to 2002 and External Affairs Minister from 2002 to 2004 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Siinha did not contest 2014 parliamentary election and his son Jayant Sinha won from the Hazaribagh seat in Jharkhand on a BJP ticket. Jayant Sinha is currently Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation in the Narendra Modi government.