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Rebel BJP leader Yashwant Sinha launches Rashtra Manch, various opposition leaders present

Yashwant Sinha alleged that there was an atmosphere of fear in the country and their main commitment is "to save democracy and all its institutions".

Published: 31st January 2018 02:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st January 2018 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

Former Union Minister Yaswant Sinha leaves after launching 'Rashtra Manch' a national forum in New Delhi on Tuesday. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Claiming that “mobocracy” has overwhelmed democracy in the country, dissident BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday floated an apolitical forum, Rashtra Manch, to mobilise people on issues of national importance. Stating that national institutions are being weakened, Yashwant asserted that an atmosphere of fear is prevailing in the country.

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh, JD(U) dissidents Pavan Kumar Varma and Uday Narayan Choudhary, Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary, RLD leader Jayan Choudhary, former Gujarat chief minister Suresh Mehta, NCP leader Majid Memon, and former Union ministers Harmohan Dhavan and Som Pal Shastri attended the launch of Rashtra Manch.

“BJP leaders are afraid to speak openly. State of affairs of internal security gives a sense that mobocracy has overwhelmed democracy. National institutions, including Parliament and judiciary, are being weakened. Similar state of affairs prevails with investigating agencies, including the CBI, ED, and NIA,” Yashwant said. He likened the present situation to that which prevailed 70 years ago when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on this day.

The BJP leader, who is a member of the Margdarshak Mandal of the party along with L K Advani and Shanta Kumar, vowed to ensure that the forum remains apolitical. “It will only be an apolitical forum, which will raise issues of national importance, which are not being acknowledged and addressed by the government. Agrarian distress will be one of the top concerns of the forum along with unemployment in the country. The Centre has squandered off demographic dividend amid spectre of unemployment in the country,” added Yashwant.

Alleging that facts are being attempted to be overshadowed by propaganda, Yashwant charged that data are being ordered to be provided to show the economy in better lights.

“At the cost of performance, propaganda has become the key of success of the Centre,” he said, adding that farmers have been reduced to the status of beggars, as they’re denied even minimum support prices for crops.

Portraying a grim picture of the state of the economy, Yashwant said, “As a result of impromptu and impetuous policymaking, rural distress is at its peak with farmers committing suicide in larger numbers than ever before. The industrial economy is in the throes of a prolonged slowdown, bank NPAs are deteriorating, private sector investment is at a record low, demonetisation and GST have played havoc with the informal sector and employment is actually declining instead of increasing.”

Shatrughan said he joined the new party because he hadn’t been given a forum in the BJP to express his views and it should not be seen as an anti-party activity as it was in national interest.

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