Updated: March 13, 2021 5:35:15 pm
Former BJP leader and Union minister Yashwant Sinha joined the Trinamool Congress in Kolkata on Saturday in the presence of Rajya Sabha MPs Derek O’Brian and Santanu Sen. The development comes ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, scheduled to be held in eight phases from March 27.
Sinha said he decided to join the party after the recent “attack” on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on March 10. “The tipping point was the attack on Mamataji in Nandigram. It was this moment that I decided to join TMC and support her,” he said.
Daily briefing | The stories you need to start your day with
Sinha said he had met Mamata this morning for an hour and “talked about many things”. He said the TMC should be strengthened by 2024 to ensure the government at the Centre could change.
“The country is going through a crucial phase. In a democracy, things that we used to give priority to are in crisis now. Important institutions are in crisis and this is a very serious threat to our democracy. Our farmers are sitting on the roads but nobody bothers. Even the judicial systems have become weak now,” the former Union minister said.
“There is a difference of hell and heaven between Atalji’s time of the BJP and now. Atalji believed in cooperation, but today’s government believes in crushing and conquering. Atalji made a coalition from every corner of the country and now, excluding Nitish Kumar’s party, every party has quit NDA,” he added.
Praising Mamata, Sinha said, “She has remained a fighter. At the time of the Kandahar plane highjack incident, Mamataji proposed to the cabinet that she was ready to be a hostage so others are freed. She was ready to give her life for the country.”
Reacting to Sinha joining TMC, veteran party leader Subrata Mukherjee said, “It is a proud moment for us that a leader like Yashwant Sinha is joining our party. Mamata, who was injured in Nandigram and is undergoing treatment, would have been present for the occasion. We will enrich the inclusion of Sinha because, other than Mamata, no other leader has the stature in our party like him.”
Sinha, who held the finance and external affairs portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, has been critical of the Narendra Modi dispensation’s policies and style of functioning. He quit the BJP two years ago.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.