Hello! our guest for today on Teekhi Baat is senior leader of the BJP and former union finance minister Yeshwant Sinha. Welcome to our studio.
YS: Thank You Prabhuji!
PC: I said that you are senior leader.
PC: You are one, isn’t it?
YS: If you say, then may be.
PC: It is said that Yeshwant Sinha is a tall statured but small leader.
PC: You have the senior most standing in the party after Advaniji, among leaders, but Advaniji’s stature and position both are big. But you are talking big these days.
YS: Is it.
PC: You have become the spokesperson of the party on issues relating to economic policies. But I don’t understand one thing, the party which was known as reformist under Atalji’s government, now is opposing on every issue, whether the subject at hand is good or bad. Like FDI in multi brand retail, you started it first; you were to get the bill, you even opened up insurance, now with FDI in retail the people will benefit, any loss won’t happen, then what is your problem?
YS: Please see, first I will like to say that the assumption that you have, that we were bringing it (FDI in multi brand retail) and that we had taken a decision regarding the same, this is absolutely wrong assumption. And, history is witness,
PC: You opened up FDI in insurance.
YS: I will come to the issue of insurance afterwards. History is witness, that during our time thought was given to this subject (FDI in multi brand retail) and knowingly we took a decision that will not allow FDI in retail. And an assurance in this regard was given by our leaders, including me, in both the houses. Hence, there was a note
PC: But in the 2004 manifesto
YS: Please listen, I will come to the manifesto. The first thing in 2002,
PC: There was a note by Maran saab (referring to former union minister Murasoli Maran)
YS: It was not Maran saab’s note, it was Maran saab ministry’s note. And you know government’s way of work, that there are many notes going to and fro.
PC: But cabinet note comes via the minister.
YS: It didn’t come to cabinet sir. It was a note of May,2002 and I am talking of December 2002 when an assurance was given on behalf of the government in the house that we have no interest to allow FDI in retail. Now, come to 2004 NDA (National Democratic Alliance) vision document, it was not NDA or BJP manifesto, NDA’s vision document. In which it was stated that we may open retail. But we didn’t accept this thought in 2009 BJP manifesto, not today when this government decision. We said it clearly that we are not in favour of FDI in retail, and we oppose it.
PC: Sinha saab you mean to say that some constituents of NDA were in favour of opening it.
YS: No. We fully own the vision document, I don’t reject it. I am saying the truth, you were saying it was BJP’s, it was not, it was NDA’s vision. But we stand by it; I will also say that we did not change that position today, but in the 2009 manifesto when there was no talk of FDI in retail on the horizon, then we said it.
PC: Sinha saab people feel that because the trading community supports your party, middlemen are associated with you party, you are known as a middlemen’s party, I am saying in the trading sense. To save those middlemen, you are leading the farmer to ruin, there is the claim of who are supporting FDI. I have not read economics regarding this issue as much as Dr. Manmohan Singh or you. But for safeguarding the interests of a small community, you are stalling money coming into the country and progress, why do you have an objection, why should it not be allowed.
YS: In 2002,when this issue was raised in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, who opposed it, who said that doing such a thing will be anti national.
PC: FDI in retail.
YS: Yes, the Congress spokesperson said this.
PC: Who was the Congress spokesperson that time?
YS: Priyaranjan Dasmunsi, he stood up and said in the Lok Sabha, that we are hearing and there is news in the newspapers that you are going to do this. And I want to know from the government that what is your policy, and our minister Arun Shourie was present in the house that time, he stood up and said that the government is not thinking about any such proposal. That time Congress party said something different, now it is saying that it is in national interest, but allowing it that time was against national interest. Now, you will not focus on that statement, but your attention goes on BJP, because BJP has to be made whipping boy somehow.
PC: You have been the finance minister, you lowered interest rates, you did many such reforms which lead to development. But I feel under the Congress rule, in UPA one and two, there has been eight per cent growth, now do you want to stop this growth, that is why you are opposing.
YS: No, please listen, growth did not happen because of their policy.
PC: There is 7.5 per cent average growth.
YS: Not, 7.5 per cent let it be 8 per cent, or let us presume 9 per cent. But the economic car, ran on the petrol that we filled in, and it ran as far as it could, they did not put any fuel in it, and hence the vehicle is stopping now.
PC: But it is still highest as compared to other countries all over the world, except China.
YS: It is not highest; it has 6.9 per cent now.
PC: Even that is highest.
YS: It is not highest; we are behind China and other countries. It is not a question of highest or lowest. I am saying why it became 6.9 per cent, you will go in the reasons of the same. We were progress oriented, even now we are progress oriented, but I want to say one thing clearly to you, but you me and other people should not say and make people presume that if we get foreign investment in this country, then you are heavily progress oriented. And if you don’t get foreign investment, then you are not progress oriented. The way foreign investment is now being linked to being progressive, I flatly reject this theory. And I want to ask you, if this government wants to make roads, this government wants to make airports, this government wants to make steel, this government wants to make improvement in infrastructure, increase power supply, then who has opposed it, aren’t these measures towards progress. No, just talk about FDI in retail, FDI in retail. And then you are saying there is a small group of middlemen, and connecting it with BJP, this is absolutely wrong. This step (FDI in multi brand retail) will cause the most loss to farmers in India, which comprise of 80 to 90 per cent farmers with small land holdings; they will have the biggest los sir. What did Wal Mart do after going in other countries of the world? You are talking people like you and me, who will enjoy when they will go to big store and will buy what we like but I want to tell you that the aam aadmi of the country, common farmer, common trader, he will have so much loss.
PC: Any government takes decision to retain or come to power. Now when Congress party has taken such a decision, what reason could it be for taking such a decision?
YS: There is only one reason behind this, they are under pressure from America, that you open this sector and they want to open.
PC: There is American pressure; will they do anything under American pressure.
YS: They keep on doing. They passed nuclear deal on the basis of what America said, they are opening FDI in retail after America said, and this is my direct charge on the Manmohan Singh’s government.
PC: The progress of corporate India, even now they are saying, they are partners
YS: Corporate India does not vote, they don’t go to vote in our constituency. I opened all gates for corporate India when I was finance minister, now they put us aside like a fly is taken out of milk. Hence, corporate India, corporate India, it is there, they also have a contribution.
PC: You mean they are opportunists.
PC: Then why do you go to CII, when you were finance minister, you used to go in CII conventions.
YS: Yes, I used to go.
PC: You also used to enjoy sitting there.
YS: After that I realised that today no CII or PII calls us.
PC: When you become minister again, will you go.
YS: I i become finance minister again, they will call again, they will call again.
PC: You will go to Davos again
YS: Will go on not that is in future, will become finance minister or not is in the future, but I want to tell you that corporate India, and pink papers think that those who are in power has all the knowledge and intelligence, nobody else has. Hence, when I was the finance minister of this country for four years, now today they don’t need our knowledge. Hence, I don’t go.
PC: Now names like rollback Yeshwant Sinha, rollback BJP are being chanted.
YS: When this government rolled back FDI,
PC: Where has the rollback happened, they have suspended the decision.
YS: It is ok, the suspension,
PC: I read your statement, your party’s demand was that till there is not complete roll back, you will not let parliament function.
YS: Yes, after that.
PC: You changed after that.
YS: No, no nobody changed.
PC: You said, they suspended, now after session, they will again start.
YS: How will they start, you listened to Pranab Mukherjee’s speech which he gave in the Lok Sabha.
PC: They will engage in consultation.
YS: No consultation, he said consensus. Until there is consensus with all stakeholders, and there are political parties in stake holders, stakeholders include state chief ministers, stake holders include farmers, stake holders include businessmen, stake holders include corporate India also, talk to everybody, this is what we said.
PC: Congressmen say that BJP is Bharatiya Jhagda party; they don’t know to do anything except fight.
YS: Please listen; it is absolute rubbish and wrong talk. You talked about insurance sector, when we talked about improvement in insurance sector, tabled a bill, then I went to the Congress party, then Murli Deora was the chairman of standing committee on finance,
PC: Whose incumbent chairman you are now.
YS: Yes. I spoke to him, we together prepared a roadmap, we had no majority in Rajya Sabha, hence ever after standing committee’s assent, we held wide discussions on this issue with Congress party leaders. We accepted their suggestions, then we got the bill passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. I will say that Atalji had a very distinct style of working, they way Manmohan Singh works is very distinct. We used to value and respect the opposition, they want to sweep the opposition with a broom.
PC: You feel that there is a great difference between Atalji and Manmohan SinghjI’s stye of working.
PC: You were saying that there is great difference between Atalji and Manmohansinghji.
YS: Please see, I myself come from a civil service background, you know it. But after coming into politics, I felt want I worked with leaders like Atalji, worked with leaders like Chandrashekharji, and today I am seeing Manmohansinghji, like the people who have come up from the grassroots, the people who spent their life at the grassroot level, the understanding which they have about India, that cannot be ours or yours or Dr. Manmohan Singh’s. You were talking of Atalji, Atalji’s was a great democrat
PC: He used to speak less, and listen to everybody more.
YS: He used to listen to everybody, give a chance to everybody, he used to take the whole party together with him, take together the alliance partners, he used to take together even the opposition, presume if an urgent letter from Shrimati Sonia Gandhi is received, she raised some issue, he will invite them immediately saying please come, let us sit and talk. This was the way the government functioned then. I told you regarding insurance, because, in that same way we were moulded, and were working in that style.
PC: After forming consensus.
YS: Going ahead after forming consensus. The basic element of democracy is consensus, agreement, maintain that and go ahead. Numbers are not the soul of democracy, being in agreement is.
PC: Why is the difference in Manmohan Singh.
YS: He does not do it. Now you see regarding FDI in retail, if he would have talked, even if he had not had dialogue with the opposition, he should have spoken to their alliance partners at least, at least their party members, opposition in the party, in their own party,
PC: Yes from Kerala, it was said.
YS: Sanjay Singh, even people from Kerala. Sanjay Singh gave an open statement, and DMK, TMC had reservations, which became public. Hence, not even taking you own people together, what is a great feat in this, I don’t understand. So, they had to roll back.
PC: You don’t think that the Prime Minister would have the interest of the party in mind. He has been a Prime Minister for seven years, running the government for seven years, eighth year is on. Now, because his hold is good, the Bharatiya Janta Party is struggling to weaken it always.
YS: No at all, we are not working to loosening his hold, when his hold is automatically loosening then why there is a need for us to toil for it.
PC: You said politics, he may not know politics.
YS: No, I did not talk about politics; he may be a big politician. A renowned economist told about him that he is less of an economist and more of a politician. But leave that, I am saying that building a consensus.
PC: Dr. Manmohan Singh is less of an economist and more of a politician.
YS: A renowned economist has said this, before us and you.
PC: You mean one economist is saying to another that the economist has forgotten economist.
YS: (Laughs) Forgotten or not, but knows less of economics and more of politics. But I am saying that the politician who has come up from grassroots level, Dr. Manmohan Singh fought one Lok Sabha election, which he lost, after which he never fought a Lok Sabha election. I want to ask you, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the country went to what village last time.
PC: What do you mean by going to village?
YS: He will go to some village; he is the Prime Minister of the country. What is the condition of the village, he will go to some village to see it. When did he meet poor people, when did he last meet the poor people of the country,
PC: They have the SPG surrounding, which Prime Minister goes to meet..
YS: No, no, no they can meet. Atalji has a constituency, of Lucknow, he used to go there and come back, meet people there, whoever is in the Lok Sabha will do this.
PC: You mean Dr. Manmohan Singh has got nothing to do with villages.
YS: We feel the same because he never goes to villages, he never goes.
PC: But he has become the Prime Minister of the country.
YS: How he has become you and I both know.
PC: Through Rajya Sabha, you never took an objection.
YS: He became with the blessings of somebody, and is running with that person’s blessings.
PC: Don’t you think that Bharatiya Janta Party selects and targets ministers, first they targeted P. Chidambaram, SM Krishna, you are targeting and destroying assets of UPA one by one, because you have no agenda of your own.
YS: Please see, we believe that Shri. P. Chidambaram, is responsible to the extent in the 2G scam that A. Raja is.
PC: Why, there are there any allegations of taking money against A. Raja but not against him?
YS: There is no need of taking money under the Prevention of Corruption Act Sirji. If you have helped somebody make money, even then you are guilty, it is not related to whether you made money or not. So, when he approved all decisions taken by Raja.
PC: But that was your policy, of 2003, and you were in the committee which took the decision.
YS: Certainly I was, but where did they ride on this policy.
PC: On that policy they allotted 2G.
YS: No, no, this is absolutely wrong, then why are we not in jail, why he is jail.
PC: There is no court verdict, but on everything you demand P. Chidambaram’s resignation.
YS: We certainly believe that he is guilty and the matter is before court. Court has gone ahead with it and let see what happens in future.
PC: The negative attitude you party has, to not let this government function, don’t let the country progress.
YS: I want to give you an example, I am also in parliament for a long time. Chandrashekharji’s government used to run with the help of the Congress. One day a foreign guest was to come, his flight landed early, and senior Congress leaders stood up in the house and said, how this government is running the man has come at the airport and your people who were to receive him were not present, such a big bungle. Now, they said that it was such a big problem because there was some delay in receiving him. And now in their rule, let P. Chidambaram do any scam, you spoke about Krishna, SM Krishna who is foreign minister now, who read the Portuguese foreign ministers speech, leave that. Now, after the Lokayukta and court said, there is an FIR against him, we did not say
PC: Hamaam mein agar sab nange hain to kya kar sakte hain
YS: No, this is not right, when their issue comes, then saare nange hain.
PC : Saare nange means, the hold of political parties is decreasing, people started slapping, somebody throws a shoe.
YS: That is a wrong thing.
PC: But it is in issue of worrying for all.
YS: Well, a shoe was even thrown on Bush, and many other people.
PC: Even his credibility was bad, isn’t it.
YS: The falling of standards in politics, is not true to India, but other nations also.
PC: But you have no positive agenda, BJP has an agenda to not let the session run.
YS: Certainly, we wanted in this session, we had an adjournment session, have a discussion on the same. Now, under what rule will we raise our issues, will this be decided by the government, in what language we will raise issue, will this be decided by the government. Then how will the Lok Sabha run in such manner.
PC: You party taken a decision in the morning, changes it later in the afternoon.
PC: Your leaders and you decided that you will not let the session run till there is no rollback, they did not rollback in any manner. You said that will bring an adjournment motion and 2g and black money,
YS: We are bringing, with everybody’s agreement we decided that the adjournment motion will be brought on the issue of black money, as far as inflation is concerned, we will under 193, under which there is no voting.
PC: But in every session, you make demand of voting but then don’t take action on it.
YS: In every session, there cannot be voting on every issue. Hence, the whole opposition decided together, that we will demand for voting on issue of black money not inflation. On both we cannot get voting done.
PC: Leaders of both Congress and the BJP seem to be cut off from the party, leaders are engaged in saving the government, and the other ones in troubling the government.
YS: So should we sing praises of the government every morning in the parliament.
PC: But they have done good work.
YS: Good work, let me tell you in the last budget session, the pension fund bill was to be tabled, if we had not supported the government, the bill would have not passed through that day. We supported because it was the bill that we brought.
PC: You are finance committee member, I have read the report, you have opposed UID.
Ys: I will make no comments on the same because that report, when it is before the country, before parliament.
PC: Do you see any good thing in the government.
YS: When we see any good thing we will say it.
PC: There is no good thing.
YS: We cannot see it now
PC: Prime Minister is famous all over the world, he is respected,
YS: We also respect a lot, we also respect a lot. Did you see any time that we troubled him.
PC: Respect in terms of good economist.
YS: Good economist good not control inflation in three years. Good economist could not look after growth rate, under good economist tenure the reserve bank has increase rates 13 times. Investment is finished under the rule of the good economist.
PC: Yesterday, your party said in the house that if the ruling party cannot, you will run the government. Do you have the capacity to run the government?
YS: We have run and shown it.
PC: After which the people defeated you two times.
YS: Let them defeat two times or five, is voting done on performance. If there was voting on performance, the UPA one
PC: why don’t you bring no confidence motion then.
YS: When there is a need we will bring.
PC: You don’t want to make the government fall.
YS: no, when there is a need we will bring.
PC: Now you are not in a mood to make the government fall, am doing Teekhi Baat, are you not in the mood of making the government fall or you have no capacity of making the government fall.
YS: No, when there is capacity, that day we will make the government fall.
PC: Today you don’t have
YS: What need we have to make it fall, when their tallest leader Pranab Mukherjee, he himself said that they had to suspend FDI in retail otherwise the government would have fallen.
PC: Hence you are exploiting their weakness.
YS: They have a weakness, which they themselves are responsible for creating.
PC: What is future agenda, will you let parliament run.
YS: Parliament is running, parliament is functioning.
PC: You will let it function.
PC: You will co operate with the government.
YS: I mean we will want the parliament to function.
PC: Let’s see what roadmap you take, thank you for coming to our studio.
YS: Thank You Prabhuji!