There seems to be no end to the verbal duel between Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha. While Jaitley on Thursday passed a snide remark on him calling him a 'job applicant@80', Yashwant hit back saying "if I was a job applicant, he (Jaitley) would not be there in the first place".
At the launch of the book 'India @ 70, Modi @ 3.5: Capturing India’s Transformation Under Narendra Modi', Jaitley without taking any names said that perhaps the book should have been named “India@70, Modi@3.5 and job applicant@80”.
Jaitley also attacked Sinha by saying that he is not a former minister-turned-columnist and cannot forget policy paralysis. "I do not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister. Nor do I have the luxury of being a former finance minister who has turned a columnist and, therefore, I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis, I can conveniently forget the 15 per cent NPAs of 1998-2002, I can conveniently forget the $4-billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change a narrative,” Jaitley said.
Hitting back at former finance minister Chidambaram also, Jaitley reminded Yashwant of what he had once said about the Congress leader. "One said of the other: Chidambaram will have to be born again to match my record as a finance minister. He then linked Finance Minister Chidambaram to an incompetent doctor for failing to curb India’s alarming fiscal deficit and then he went on and said ‘I accuse him of running the economy down to the ground.’ He then said that ‘Chidambaram is the most conceited person.’ He then went on to accuse him of bugging his phones. Today with complete responsibility I want to say when I raise the issue of Aircel-Maxis, Chidambaram ordered my phone to be bugged."
Yashwant Sinha's criticism:
The tussle between the two leaders came to the fore after Sinha wrote an editorial stating that the government “completely misread” the economic situation of the country. Holding Jaitley responsible for the "economic mess", Sinha had made a personal attack on Jaitley saying that he was appointed as the Finance Minister despite losing the elections from Amritsar.
Shatrughan Sinha backs Yashwant:
BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha backed Yashwant saying that he hit the nail right on the head by showing a mirror on the economic condition of the country. In a series of tweets, Shatrughan said, "Mr. Yashwant Sinha is a true statesman & a tried & tested man of wisdom, who has proven himself as one of the best & most successful Finance Ministers of the country. He has shown the mirror on the economic condition of India and has hit the nail right on the head."
Chidambaram sides with Yashwant:
Sinha's criticism was echoed by another former Finance minister P Chidambaram who said that "no matter what Power does, ultimately Truth will prevail." In a series of tweets, Chidambaram quoted Yashwant Sinha and questioned whether 'power' will admit the 'truth' that economy is sinking. "Instilling fear in the minds of the people is the name of the new game, says Yashwant Sinha," Chidambaram tweeted.
Rahul Gandhi mocks BJP:
Seemingly elated at the attack on the Central government's policies by one of their own, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter with this witty post. "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your copilot & FM speaking. Plz fasten your seat belts & take brace position. The wings have fallen off our plane," he said tweeting out Yashwant Sinha's editorial.
RSS-affiliate body's attack:
An RSS-affiliated labour organisation Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "retract from the present reform process" and stop laying "excess thrust" on jobless growth that has resulted in mounting unemployment.
Shiv Sena criticises Modi govt's policies:
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut backed party mouthpiece Saamna article which supported Yashwant's comments on the economy, saying that they have been saying the same thing for nearly a year now. "It is not about today. Since the time of demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST) happened, the Indian economy is suffering and we have been speaking against it," he said.
Son Jayant Sinha defends government:
Yashwant's son and union minister Jayant Sinha defended the economic policies of the government stating that the 'robust new economy' created by the Modi government will power 'long-term growth' and provide jobs for creation of 'New India.' He wrote that the new economy that is being created will be "much more transparent, globally cost-competitive, and innovation driven. Importantly, the new economy will also be much more equitable thereby enabling all Indians to lead better lives."
Rajnath Singh lauds Indian economic position:
Rejecting Yashwant's critique Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the country's image is very strong internationally. "The world acknowledges India is the fastest growing economy. No one should forget it. Our image at the international level is very strong," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.
BJP MP hits out at Yashwant:
BJP MP and President of the party's Kisan Morcha Virendra Singh Mast sought to know Sinha's own achievements as the country's Finance Minister. "The concerns Yashwant Sinha has raised (on NDA government's economic policies) are baseless. He should remember his own terms as the country's Finance Minister. What were his achievements," Mast said.