Mounting yet another offensive against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha on Friday raised questions over the functioning of the Modi Cabinet.
“All ministries are running from the Prime Minister’s Office. Other ministers have no work. If someone (the other ministers) is saying he is busy, he is lying,” Sinha said. “While the PM is only the first among equals in his minister’s council, this isn’t the case with the Modi government. This is the famous Gujarat model of governance.” Echoing Sinha, Arun Shourie, another BJP veteran and former Union minister, said that the Modi government was a government of two men — BJP president Amit Shah and Modi himself. Shourie alleged that the CBI was directly reporting to Shah.
The duo was addressing the gathering of the Rashtra Manch — an outfit founded by Sinha earlier this year to bring together politicians and voices across party lines to take on Centre — in Mumbai.
Saturday’s gathering witnessed five former Union ministers — Sinha, Shourie, Shatrughan Sinha (BJP), Dinesh Trivedi (Trinamool Congress), and Ravinder Manchanda (Samajwadi Janata Party) — and two sitting MPs, Sanjay Singh (AAP) and Majeed Memon (NCP) share the dais.
On the occasion, Sinha reiterated his allegations that the controversial Rafale deal was a “Rs 35,000-crore” scam. “Bofors scam was Rs 64 crore. This is a Rs 35000 crore scam.” Sinha alleged that Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the No. 2 man in the Cabinet, had been kept in the dark about the BJP’s move to yank support from Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. He also claimed that Singh wasn’t aware of the Naga peace accord in 2015.
“The External Affairs Minister (Sushma Swaraj), similarly, is not kept in the loop on foreign policy matters. She has become a Twitter mantri. Arun Jaitley (finance minister) had no idea about demonetisation. Defence minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) was not aware of the Rafale deal when it happened,” said Sinha.
Claiming that the Shah-Modi duo was aware that the “ground was slipping away from them” and that “they will do everything to cling onto power”, Shourie said Opposition parties “must come together in the 2019 polls”. “…The country will be in peril if they (BJP) came back to power… Leaders of all Opposition parties must not stand on prestige issues, forgo the past and the future, and join hands for a one-to-one contest,” he said.