The disgruntled are a tribe not notified. Now, disgruntled BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrugun Sinha have formed a forum, the Rashtra Manch (RM), to notify to the Modi government that it is under notice and that the RM will see to it that this government at the Centre should not be given another chance to misrule India.
Call it the ‘Revenge of the Disgruntled’ but that the RM has been launched as 2019 looms larger and larger with every passing day speaks a lot about the bile in the disgruntled. The Rashtra Manch agenda cannot be more than the one-point of ‘Oust Modi’.
Wednesday RM progenitor Yashwant Sinha shot off the first arrow, giving his unsolicited view on the imbroglio in the state of Jammu and Kashmir post the Indian Army gunning down three pro-Pakistan stone-pelters, for whom the PDP-BJP state government has been shedding tears for the sake of remaining in power.
Joining Sinha & Sinha in the ‘let us go after Modi government’ campaign are Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, NCP MP Majeed Memon, AAP MP Sanjay Singh, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta and JD (U) Pavan Verma. RJD leader Jayant Chaudhary and ex-Union ministers Som Pal and Harmohan Dhawan were present at the RM launch on Tuesday.
Yashwant Sinha, as all and sundry know, has been a Bharatiya Janata Party leader only in name. Otherwise, he is more anti-BJP than Asauddin Owaisi. That Sinha does not get along well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is common knowledge. His dislike for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley he wears like a second skin, which unlike a snake he never sheds.
It’s got to do with the portfolio, perhaps. The one Yashwant Sinha held in the Vajpayee government and which has been in the tight fist of Jaitley for the last three and a half years. Sinha would have liked it nothing better than to get hold of ‘Finance’ from Jaitley. But now it is too late. FM Jaitley will present his last “full budget” and then it will be the general elections. That should tell us why the RM has been launched, on the eve of Jaitley’s last full budget. Expect a lot of criticism from Sinha within minutes of Jaitley presenting the budget.
Sinha carries a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder. The disgruntled, like the Opposition, does not fear the government failing to present a good last budget, they are scared the government might come up with a commendable one. They don’t want the Modi government to do well. They never wanted the Modi government to do well. Like Mario Puzo’s ‘Godfather’ said, everything is ‘personal’.
Now, after Sinha has launched the ‘Rashtra Manch’ for political leaders and others “concerned with the prevailing situation” in the country to have their say, don’t be surprised if Sinha says ‘India is down in the dumps’ and who should be blamed for that – Modi and Jaitley!
Sinha is hoping more of the ‘sleeping cells of disgruntled’ will wake up and join him to take on the Modi government. So far, the ones who have stepped up are those who want to “air their concerns” in their individual capacities. Renuka Chowdhury is not a disgruntled Congress leader. She must be in the forum only to see that it helps the Congress. JD(U)’s Pavan Varma is in it because he has an ego that matches that of Yashwant Sinha’s and probably expected a slot in the Modi cabinet after JD(U) rejoined the NDA.
It is intriguing how Sinha has been allowed to carry on with what could only be called “anti-party activities” by the BJP leadership. Sinha along with ‘Shotgun Sinha’ have been taking potshots at the Modi government right from after the party came to power in May 2014. The actor Sinha said at the RM launch that he was not there to speak against the government, which can be nothing but a fake statement. Everybody in the BJP knows Shatrugun Sinha has been the villain gunning for Modi and Shah.
Yashwant Sinha has criticized the Modi government’s economic policies. The recent judicial crisis was another time when Sinha butted in. One thing about Sinha is that he is stubborn. He wouldn’t let go. The BJP and Modi long ago decided not to react to Sinha’s criticism. Any other disgruntled sort would have been killed by the silence. But not Yashwant Sinha, he seems to draw strength to speak from the silence. He soldiered on irrespective of whether his criticism hit the mark or not.
Announcing his forum, Sinha promised “not to run away from my duties” and invited the youth to join the movement, which could be nothing else than to mount an attack on the government’s alleged misrule and build an atmosphere that would, going forward, see the back of the NDA government post the 2019 general elections. The two Sinhas are praying for a Modi loss and going by what Modi & Co. have been doing in recent months they might even get their wish.
Sinha is friend to older disgruntled BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, and Arun Shourie, another wannabe finance minister who could not strike a welcome note with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yashwant Sinha was invited to campaign for the Congress in the Gujarat assembly elections and he seems to get along well with several Congress leaders. The launch of the ‘Rashtra Manch’ would likely increase the “hobnobbing” between them.
On September 27 last, Sinha had in an article in the Indian Express blasted the Modi government’s handling of the economy, warning “of turbulence and a possible hard landing”. To answer for the government, Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha, who is Minister of State for Civil Aviation, was fielded. Junior Sinha defended the government’s economic policies with an earnestness that comes with the office given to him, a privilege denied to the father.
Among the issues Yashwant Sinha picked up to hit out at the Modi government are Kashmir, Doklam and the Modi government’s reaction to Trump’s policies towards South Asia. Now that the disgruntled have a forum to strike back at those they are disgruntled against, there can only be more disgruntlement spilled out in the open. At 80, Yashwant Sinha does not want to be counted among the ‘Margdarshak Mandal’. He has ambitions older than his age.