Sunday, Oct 22, 2017 | Last Update : 12:40 AM IST
Yashwant Sinha calls Arun Jaitley’s remark ‘cheap’; son denies pressure.
New Delhi: The bitter personal feud between former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley grew bigger on Friday with the 84-year-old saying that if he were a “job applicant”, then Mr Jaitley would not be holding the finance portfolio now.
Yashwant Sinha was responding to Mr Jaitley’s comment at an event on Thursday that the former finance minister was a “job applicant at 80 who has forgotten his record”.
The two BJP leaders’ verbal duel had started with a debate on the state of the economy but turned personal with both raising questions about each other’s performance as finance minister.
Meanwhile, Union minister and Yashwant Sinha’s son dismissed allegations that he was put under pressure to write an article challenging his father’s criticism of the NDA government’s economic policies. “I reject any such charge that I was asked to write the article. I wanted to write the article,” Jayant Sinha said.
“It is a very serious discussion about the future of the economy and it should not be seen in a personal way,” he said, adding that the economy is shifting gears, and that it has slowed down a little bit so it can accelerate further.
After Mr Jaitley’s job applicant barb, Yashwant Sinha accused the finance minister of making “cheap” remarks. “So cheap is the remark that I consider it below my dignity to respond to it,” he said. And yet, he did.
“He (Jaitley) has completely forgotten my background. I gave up the IAS, when I had 12 years of service left, to join public life. I refused to become a minister of state in the V.P. Singh Cabinet in 1989 as I had some issues... I retired from electoral politics. I am not active in politics and am living a quiet life in my corner. So if I was looking for a post, then first of all I would not have given up all these things that I gave up,” said the former finance minister.
Yashwant Sinha earlier said that Mr Jaitley delivered a well-researched speech but overlooked party veteran L.K. Advani’s “advice to refrain from personal attacks,” whom he himself had quoted.
In an article on the economy earlier this week, Yashwant Sinha had criticised the government, mainly Mr Jaitley, for the economic mess. A day later, his son and minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha backed the government’s decisions through another article. He said Mr Jaitley’s criticism of his work amounted to criticism of the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who had entrusted him with key ministries.
When asked about the government’s recent moves, including the constitution of the Economic Advisory Council, Yashwant Sinha said, “Let’s see what great pearls of wisdom they come out with. Nothing has happened so far, so I will wait for some action before I make my comments.”
The former finance minister also hit out at Mr Jaitley for taking no action against black money holders, “Three years ago HSBC Bank shared the names of over 700 people (holding black money abroad) with India. How many of them have been arrested? Has action been taken against them?” asked Yashwant Sinha.