‘BJP wanted to catch Singh, Chidambaram for finance ministry’

Indian economy is going through the worst economic crisis in 70 years. Such situation did occur in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s period as well. The question arises, is there a dearth of persons in BJP to look after economic affairs? If a journalist’s claim is to be believed it is an age old problem for BJP. The journalist claimed that there was a lack of good finance minister during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s period. In that situation party leader Pramod Mahajan had offered finance ministry to Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram but both rejected the offer.

In a report published in National Herald senior journalist and author of ‘Samrat: How the Shiv Sena Changed Mumbai Forever’ Sujata Anandan claimed that when Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government was going to form they were in need of a talent who was an economic expert and could take care of financial system very well.

She wrote: “In the mid-1990s when it began to become apparent that the Congress would go out of power both in Maharashtra and the Centre, there were two practical leaders of both the Shiv Sena and the BJP, who readily admitted that their parties were hopelessly inadequate at finding the right talent for the right job.”

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Sujata further claimed, “The BJP, then as now, believed in making up for the talent deficit by stealing from other parties……. They were eyeing Dr Manmohan Singh, the finance minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government and thought he would be an easy catch. “He is just a bureaucrat, not a career politician or even a blue-blooded Congressman. He agreed to bail out the Rao government in a period of crisis and it will not be difficult to persuade him to help out the BJP.” However, Mahajan discovered Dr Singh was not for sale.

“The BJP’s second choice had been P. Chidambaram who was then with the Tamil Maanila Congress. But Mahajan seemed very upset at Chidambaram’s searing speech against the Vajpayee government during the vote of confidence that Vajpayee would not have won in any case.” She wrote.

Finally BJP made former bureaucrat Yashwant Sinha its finance minister. Vir Sanghvi, who was then editor-in-chief at the Hindustan Times, had described Sinha on one of his TV shows as the “worst finance minister” India could ever have.

But if it was worse, then worst is yet to come it seems. Sujata wrote “the last four months have proved Nirmala Sitharaman to be even more clueless and hopelessly inadequate for the job.”

She further wrote: “But this is now why I, in the background of Mahajan’s attempt to steal Dr Singh and Chidambaram years ago from the Congress, am beginning to believe the unconfirmed reports, that the BJP tried to buy Chidambaram again under threat of prosecution and he once again turned down the offer.”

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