Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that senior leaders above the age of 75 have been completely marginalised.
"All those who are above the age of 75 years were declared brain dead on May 26, 2014," Sinha said in an industry meet in Mumbai, adding "I am among those brain dead."
Sinha served as finance minister twice, first with the Chandra Shekhar government in 1991, and then in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from 1998 – 2002. During Modi's election campaign, Sinha was given the task of criticizing the economic policies of the Manmohan Singh administration.
However, he was denied a ticket to run from Hazaribagh constituency, which he had represented for his entire political career. Instead, his son Jayant Sinha, the present minister of state for finance, was made the candidate and he won. Other senior leaders above 75 years of age — such as Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — were also sidelined, and were not offered any role in the Modi government.
Sinha also questioned Modi's claims of economic recovery, saying that the recovery has been largely confined to statistical changes rather than real gains to people. "We have recovered from the slowdown, atleast statistically if not really because we have changed the norms," Sinha said. "What are the new norms? Even the chief economic advisor does not understand this."
Under the new methodology adopted by the government, India grew at 7.4 percent in 2014-15, as compared with the earlier rate of 5 percent. The new figures put India ahead of China within touching distance of 8 percent growth this year. Both Raghuram Rajan, the central bank governor, and Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor to the government, have called the new GDP figures puzzling, because it does not correspond to data from other indicators that show slower growth.
(With agency inputs)