Budget may fail to meet economic challenges: Yashwant Sinha

February 24th, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi
By Faraz Ahmad
New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition party, seems convinced that the upcoming national budget won’t meet the challenges faced by the Indian economy, saying survival has become the motto of the present government and soft attitude its policy. “I do not have any expectations,” said Yashwant Sinha, BJP vice president and finance minister in the last National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, when asked to comment on his outlook for the upcoming national budget Feb 29.

“The reason is that it is for the first time in four years (of UPA rule) that the Indian economy is faced with such grave challenges,” he said of the fifth budget of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

“The kind of measures required, combined with the fact that this is bound to be an election related budget, I do not see the budget being able to tackle economic issues and problems that we are facing,” Sinha told IANS.

“Ever since differences between the Left and the UPA over the India-US nuclear deal came into the open, this government has become paralysed. Survival in office has become its only motto and a soft attitude on all fronts its policy,” he said.

“Now, in such a situation, elections which are anyway due in 12 months, may be held earlier and most likely in October or November,” he said.

Ever since opposition leader L.K. Advani was named BJP’s candidate for prime minister Dec 11 last year, he has been holding strategy sessions either in the absence of party president Rajnath Singh or with the latter playing second fiddle in such meetings.

But Sinha dismissed this as “perceptions” of the media. He said: “These are all perceptions which are unfortunately spread in the media from time to time.”

However, he acknowledged the absence of Rajnath Singh at a recent meeting.

“The meeting you are mentioning was held in full knowledge of Rajnath Singh. There is full coordination not only between Rajnath and Advani but also between all office bearers of the BJP,” he said.

“In the BJP, all decisions are taken collectively and after fullest consultations.”

The BJP has been harping on good governance and development and showcasing the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat as a model of good governance.

This move seems to have irked the party’s other chief ministers like Rajasthan’s Vasundhra Raje who had recently vented her displeasure on the sidelines of the BJP’s national council meeting.

Asked whether she would follow Modi’s model of governance and development Raje said: “Different states have different problems and different ways of tackling them. There cannot be one role model.”

Sinha, however, stoutly defended the BJP’s projection. “When we talk of good governance and the Gujarat model, we are basically referring to growth with development,” he said.

“We believe that the recent success of the party in Gujarat was on account of its success on the development front and there is nothing wrong in either admitting this or projecting this.”

The BJP vice-president denied any knowledge of murmurs of disenchantment in his party over this.

“I am not aware of any difference of opinion within the party on this issue. Development was our issue earlier. Development continues to be our issue even today.”

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