New Delhi: Breaking his silence on criticism by fellow party leader Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has hit back calling him “a job applicant at 80 years who has forgotten his record as finance minister and is commenting on persons rather than policies”.
He accused Sinha of acting in tandem with senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram, forgetting the harsh words the two had used for each other.
At a book release function, Jaitley refrained from taking Sinha’s name but said “he does not have the luxury as yet of being a former finance minister nor does he have the luxury of being a former finance minister who has turned a columnist”.
The first reference was for Sinha and the second one for Chidambaram, who rode on the BJP leader’s criticism to assail Jaitley and the government’s handling of the economy post demonetisation and transitionary impact caused by GST.
Being a finance minister “I can conveniently forget a policy paralysis (during UPA-II). I can conveniently forget the 15 per cent NPAs of 1998 and 2002 (during Sinha’s term as finance minister). I can conveniently forget the USD 4 billion reserve left in 1991 and I can switch over and change the narrative,” he said.
“Acting in tandem itself won’t change the facts,” he said as he took a jibe at Sinha for seeking a job by making those comments.
“Probably, a more appropriate title for the book would have been ‘India @70, Modi @3.5 and a job applicant @ 80,” he said, at the release of book titled ‘India @70 Modi @3.5’.
Sinha, 84, in a newspaper article headlined “I need to speak up now” criticised Jaitley over the “mess the finance minister has made of the economy” and went on to slam the government over decisions like note ban and the GST, the new universal tax regime.
“The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters,” Sinha had written. PTI