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Yashwant Sinha: My problems with Sangh Parivar increased when I became BJP finance minister

Discussions with RSS on economic issues under Vajpayee government led to misunderstandings and Yashwant Sinha soon became a villain in their eyes.

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I was never a member of the RSS. I have never, even out of curiosity, worn the khaki half pants or black cap or gone to a shakha. So, I cannot even lay a tenuous claim to this paternity that is the hallmark of the BJP. To curry favour with the powers that be, new entrants to the BJP often claim that they have attended the Sangh’s shakha as a child or, if not, their father might have.

Fortunately for me, as I have mentioned elsewhere in the book, this did not cause any major problems because I largely dealt with economic and foreign policy issues in the BJP, and not volatile, political ones like the Ram Mandir, Common Civil Code or Article 370 of the Constitution relating to Jammu and Kashmir. This was a huge relief to me because I was generally not required or expected to take positions on these issues.

I have already mentioned that Vajpayee and Advani used to invite me to their meetings with top Sangh functionaries whenever discussions were held on economic issues. I was attracted to the Swadeshi philosophy even before I joined the BJP. Thus, I had no ideological problems in working with the Swadeshi Jagran Manch on this issue, though differences cropped up between the Manch and me later, on the interpretation of this philosophy.

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My definition of it was simple – it is only the strong who can practice Swadeshi, not the weak. Therefore, we had to do whatever was needed to make India strong. I was never in favour of autarky. A foreign investor could take away his capital, but not his factory. I was opposed to the Dunkel proposals when they were presented to the World Trade Organisation and even travelled on a bicycle with about 200 companions from Hazaribagh to Patna, to sensitise people about the dangers of accepting these proposals, especially relating to agriculture. I still feel that agriculture is not merely an occupation in India. It is a way of life and must be protected and preserved at all costs. However, this does not mean that reforms in agriculture should be ignored. On the other hand, modern technology and practices must be used to make it more efficient, productive, competitive and lucrative.

In the Vajpayee government, discussions with the Sangh on economic issues had become increasingly infrequent. I was very keen that such discussions take place, so that we could explain the government’s policies to the Sangh. A few such meetings were indeed held but there was no meeting of minds. This led to further misunderstanding with the Sangh Parivar and I soon became a villain as far as they were concerned.

Guru dakshina (an old tradition in the Sangh, started by Guru Golwalkar) is a big annual event that is held everywhere the RSS is in existence, where they use the opportunity to collect money. Their annual collection is done on this day—the normal rule is to donate a month’s salary/earnings. It was initially supposed to be gupt daan (undisclosed charity) in an envelope, given when you salute the flag, and is a sacred occasion for the Sangh. This is no longer the case, where peeks at the amount are often followed by the words – as they once were directed towards me in Hazaribagh – ‘thoda kam tha’ (it was too little).

Also read: Modi must restore BJP to what it was in Vajpayee-Advani times: Yashwant Sinha

I always gave my guru dakshina at Hazaribagh and the RSS used to organise a special function there to suit my convenience. We would all assemble at the appointed place and time, fall in line, say our prayer and then sit down for the bauddhik or intellectual lecture delivered by some local Sangh functionary. To my great amusement, the talk would often be on economic or foreign policy. The head clerk of the electricity office, for example, who could be the chosen senior functionary, would deliver a lecture on economic or foreign policy and I, as the finance or foreign minister of India would sit there and listen to it.

The philosophy these lectures espoused was familiar to me. It was all about making India great, powerful, self-reliant and a vishwa guru, with which I had no problem. But objectives apart, it was the strategy to achieve them with which I was not in agreement. Most of these people were prisoners of an ideology that had long become irrelevant and they would repeat the same lecture everywhere and every time. Unfortunately, it carries great conviction with the gullible, as does the complete nonsense that is dished out by the ‘bhakts’ on social media these days.

Also read: Unfit father, worthy son earlier, roles reversed now, says Yashwant Sinha

My problems with the Sangh Parivar increased when I became the finance minister. In fact, senior Sangh functionaries would often approach me to help someone close to them. I used to listen to them carefully, would even try to help if the work was doable but, more often than not, I had to disappoint them. This may have been one of the reasons why the gap between them and me only widened as time went by. The rest, I suppose, was only a matter of time.

This excerpt from Yashwant Sinha’s Relentless: An Autobiography has been published with permission from Bloomsbury India.

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  1. A failure finance minister ,wrote about economic policy of RSS ,delivered by head clerk of electricity office.sir ,A rss swam sevak have same ideology or concept as Dr, Mohan Bhagwat have.therefore Yashwant Sinha can not understand economy of India or ideology of India.why he was silent from 2004 to 2014 before Modi hope to elect president or Vice President .

  2. Being afinance minister giving fund to unregistered organisation is acrime itself .As afinance minister it was his duty to stop fund raising of this unregistered organisation.Thats why he is punished by the RSS.

  3. यशवन्त जी ने अपनी पुस्तक बेचने के लिए संघ परिवार को गाली देकर अपने प्रचार के लिए जो रास्ता चुना है वह निन्दनीय है। झारखंड के मुख्यमंत्री बनने का जब सपना सच नही हुआ तो अपनी नीचता में उतर आए।

    सूर्य पर थूकने से थूक आपपर ही पड़ेगा, सूर्य का कुछ नहीं बिगड़ेगा …

  4. Yashwant is a liar. He was a worthless finance minister. Even he was not capable to become d finance minister.

  5. For once, there is merit to Yashwant Sinha’s complaint. Large sections of RSS are Nehruvian in thought, they don’t realize it. Nehru lives in India in the unlikeliest of place.

  6. Hope Mr. Sinha read his writing again. There are contradictions within. He may want to hate RSS. But when he was in BJP, he was like another worker there. His expectation of ministry, position and calling for discussion did not happen under Modi. He is wrong, if he thinks that people may not know about him. There were two Sinhas in BJP, who will be remembered for opportunism and anti-Modi attitude. If Modi was not there, BJP may not what it is today. We may be having some coalition govt, everyone pulling everyone, at tax payers cost. None of these people cannot win election on their own.

  7. Funny , how things work , it is the same every where . The fund collection , the help and the lectures .

  8. Two absolutely wrong things here:
    1. No one, absolutely no one, will tell any karyakarta ‘ thoda kam tha’ because no one knows who has donated how much. Thats why no one is allowed to bring dakshina envelopes from home. In the Utsav, everyone is given an identical envelope and he has to make his samarpan there. So no one will come to know each individual’s samarpan. Hence the comment ‘thoda kam tha’ is horribly wrong from Mr. Yashwant Sinha.

    2. Second part, if he has never gone to shakha, how did he do the samarpan? Sangh accepts the Samapran Dakshina only from Swayamsevaks and no one else. In fact, Sangh Swayamsevaks are asked not to bring first timers to the Guru Pujan Utsav as it creates an incorrect impression that the new comer was brought to the Sangh only for monetary dakshina.

    • Sorry you are wrong. I was invited and taken to a ‘samarpan’ although I was never a swayamsevak not did I ever attend a saakha.

      • Raojji, it may have been an error by single swayamsevak inviting you but it’s not encouraged at all. And please tell others what happened when you went there ? Were the envelopes identical ? Did anyone come to know what each one had contributed? Did anyone tell to anyone that his contribution had been less ?

  9. Head clerk of the electricity office … Mock him not, Sire, he could be appointed Governor of a hill state in due course.

    • Shows yashwant sinha’s as well as your own “elitist only mentality” , where it’s wrong for a head clerk to even give a speech on economics, in front of non-RSS Finance Minister.
      And it’s also a joke if tomorrow he becomes governor ! Someday you both will (I hope) realise how your this hate for BJP/RSS and their common citizen supporters fuels the popularity of Modi every passing day, while you keep vomiting on ThePrint.

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