From Advani’s go-to person to Modi’s biggest critic, who is Yashwant Sinha, the joint opposition presidential candidate?

From a bureaucrat to Union Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs under the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to running for president against a currently-announced NDA candidate, Yashwant Sinha has worn multiple hats over the years. Sinha’s political journey started with Janata Dal after he left the administrative services in 1984.

He became a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament in 1988, before being inducted into the Bharatiya Janata Party by Lal Krishna Advani in 1993. Thus began his longest political period with a party that spanned more than two and a half decades.

After reaching the peak of his political career in the 1999-2004 Vajpayee government, where he was handed important portfolios, he ended up falling out with his mentor Advani, and then became quite critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies in the years prior to his resignation in 2018, after being gradually sidelined.

Sinha gradually fell into obscurity after his party lost to Congress in the 2004 general election. In 2005, Sinha turned on mentor Advani and called for his resignation as opposition leader after Advani praised Mohammad Ali Jinnah during a visit to Pakistan. In 2014, after Modi came to power, the three-time Lok Sabha MP from Jharkhand noticed his voice was fading within the party. While still trying to stay relevant, Sinha became a strong critic of government policy. He eventually left the party in 2018, saying the party has become a “threat to democracy”.

In 2019, he finally joined the Trinamool Congress. He was soon elevated to the post of National Vice-President. To put it bluntly, Sinha resigned from his party post on Tuesday, just before he was named as the consensus presidential candidate from the opposition camp.

Resigning from the party ahead of the announcement, Sinha tweeted: “I am grateful to Mamataji for the honor and prestige she has bestowed on me in the TMC. Now the time has come when I will step into a greater national cause.” side of the party to work for more unity of the opposition, I am sure she will approve the move.”

It can be said that Sinha has chosen to fight a losing battle, with the odds in favor of the ruling BJP party. With just a few votes short of the 50% majority, the BJP only needs the support of the BJD or the YSR Congress, both of which have skipped the opposition meeting, to get their candidate through. While Sinha has opted to oppose the election of the ruling BJP’s presidential candidate, his son Jayant Sinha still remains with the BJP and is an MP from his former Hazaribagh constituency.

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