In a stinging attack on the Narendra Modi government and its policies, sidelined BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha on Friday said that the note ban hit people hard and after the GST implementation people in Bihar feel “this government’s days are numbered”.
Unhappy over the manner of implementation of the GST, most conversation among the people in Sinha’s home state ends with “your government is gone”.
Sinha also told NDTV that 80 per cent of the Bharatiya Janata Party members had wanted party senior L.K. Advani to be their candidate for the presidential election in July.
The actor-turned-politician, whose remarks sometimes deviate from the BJP’s official line, said that the “poor and the businessmen” were reeling under the demonetisation carried out on November 8, 2016.
“Demonetisation’s impact is huge. There is panic among the poor and businessmen. You cannot gauge the mood of the country by talking to corporate houses.
“There is need to take care of the middle class, younger generation, the unemployed, vendors, farmers situation, everything has to be taken into account,” he said.
Shatrughan Sinha said former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha had raised his concerns over the manner of implementation of the Goods and Services Tax-regime. “GST came when people were still reeling under the impact of demonetisation.”
“People are facing problems. People in Bihar ask each other in Bhojpuri the meaning of GST. The reply is ‘Gail Sarkar Tohar (your government is gone)’.”
“When they say this, I do not feel good. I feel pain,” he said and added quoting people “everything is over, you just see what is happening over here. First they did demonetisation, now GST. What will they do next?”
Answering a query on Advani, Sinha said most members in the party were keen on the BJP veteran being fielded as the candidate of the ruling coalition in the presidential poll.
“Not only I wanted, let me tell you, more than 80 per cent people in our own party, they wanted Advaniji.”
Sinha said Advani was “clearly the most suitable, learned, respectable, experienced, desirable and deserving candidate for the most prestigious post.”
He said others did not speak because they may not be as vocal or feared being denied a ticket in elections.
He also referred to opponents putting up unsubstantiated posters in his constituency that said he was “missing” or “wanted”. People gave different reasons for such posters including him being an Advani-loyalist and not being from the RSS.
Sinha said he holds the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh “in very high esteem” for its spirit of nation-building and added “they are very learned people”.
Sinha, who was a minister in the previous NDA government, said he had not been made a minister in the present government despite his popularity.
“If for truth, I have to pay this price. .. If you do not make me a minister despite my good performance, good intention, image and popularity then, let it be,” he said.
Sinha said he was not concerned if he were to be denied a Lok Sabha ticket and added that he had heard such things even before the 2014 polls.
“I do not look through that prism. Who am I to stop. I am a party loyalist. But a question will arise. If ticket is not given despite winning with a record margin, who will get it and why,” he said.
Sinha said he was the last candidate to be declared by the BJP in the 2014 polls. The MP said he loved the people of Patna Sahib and they in turn, loved him. He had made it clear in the last poll that the Patna Sahib seat was his first and last choice.