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Yashwant Sinha, former BJP biggie, is now Opposition’s pick for President

Yashwant Sinha, former BJP biggie, is now Opposition’s pick for President

Yashwant Sinha, former BJP biggie, is now Opposition’s pick for President
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By CNBCTV18.com Jun 21, 2022 6:39:39 PM IST (Published)

Yashwant Sinha, an ex-IAS officer who served as a minister in earlier BJP regimes, had joined Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress last year after quitting BJP in 2018. He had hinted at stepping aside from party work in a tweet earlier today.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to decide on its candidate for the presidential elections 2022, but the Opposition has already picked a name. They have proposed the name of former minister Yashwant Sinha as their joint candidate.

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Sinha’s name comes after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference (NC) Chief Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi declined to contest the polls.


Sinha, who served as a minister in earlier BJP regimes, had joined West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress last year after quitting the BJP in 2018. He was later appointed as TMC’s vice president.

The former finance minister himself hinted at his possible candidature for the July 18 presidential polls with a tweet on June 21 morning when he said he must “step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity.”

The TMC had proposed Sinha’s name as the candidate for the presidential elections, but the Congress and Left parties insisted that the former Union minister resign from his party post first to emerge as a more acceptable face, Indian Express reported.

Professor, IAS officer, RS member

Sinha was born in Patna on November 6, 1937. He completed his schooling and university education in Patna. After his masters in political science in 1958, Sinha taught at the Patna University till 1960.

In 1960, Sinha joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He held multiple posts in the finance and commerce departments in New Delhi and Bihar during his 24-year stint as an IAS officer. He was the first secretary (commercial) in the Indian Embassy in Bonn, Germany, from 1971 to 1973 and the Indian consul general in Frankfurt from 1973 to 1974.

Inspired by socialist Janata Party (JP) veteran Jaya Prakash Narayan, Sinha resigned from the Indian Administrative Service in 1984 to become a member of the party. In 1986, he was appointed all-India general secretary of the party. Two years later, he was elected as the member of the Rajya Sabha.

‘Diwali gift’ for BJP

In 1989, Sinha joined the Janata Dal when it was formed and served as the finance minister for a year from 1990 to 1991 under late prime minister Chandra Shekhar.

He shifted his political affiliation to the BJP in 1992 and in 1996 became the party’s national spokesperson. At a press conference in 1993, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, while announcing Sinha’s induction into the BJP, had described it as a “Diwali gift” for the party.

He was appointed the finance minister in 1998 after he won the Lok Sabha election from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh constituency. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Sinha was appointed the External Affairs Minister from 2002 to 2004. He lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2004, but won a Rajya Sabha seat later that year. In 2009, Sinha won the Lok Sabha elections from Hazaribagh.

Sinha started moving away from the BJP in 2012 and defiantly supported Congress’ candidate Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential elections. In the 2014 elections, Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha contested from the Hazaribagh constituency.

Post-BJP

Sinha’s political career slipped into oblivion after being one of the tallest figures in the BJP for more than 20 years. He quit the saffron party in 2018, saying he would take “sanyas from party politics.” He has been a vocal critic of the BJP government’s policies, including the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), for which Sinha launched a 3,000-km Gandhi Peace March, demanding its withdrawal.

The former finance minister had once said: “The BJP of Atal ji and the BJP now are poles apart. Atal ji believed in consensus; today’s government believes in crushing.”

In 2021, Sinha joined TMC ahead of the state’s Assembly elections.

At home…

Sinha enjoys reading, gardening and meeting people. He is married to Nilima Sinha, one of India’s best-known children's writers. Sinha has two sons and a daughter.

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