PANAJI: Launching another scathing attack on the Modi government, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha today said "tax terrorism" has become the "order of the day" under the current government and that the country was under an "undeclared emergency".
He said the emergency imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi of the Congress in 1975 was political in nature, contrary to the "current emergency" which is an undeclared one.
"...When we were in the opposition, we used to accuse the then UPA (government) of being involved in a tax terrorism. We had promised that if voted to power we will finish it," Sinha said while addressing a group of intellectuals, Citizens for Democracy, on the topic 'Indian economy and challenges before democracy'.
Sinha had last month announced that he was severing all ties with the BJP and preparing to launch a nationwide campaign to save democracy.
He said "tax terrorism" has become the "order of the day" in the current government.
"After demonetisation (in 2016), there are 20 lakh cases filed seeking explanation about the money deposited with banks during that period," Sinha said.
He said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) regime, introduced by the current government, has landed lakhs of traders into trouble.
"Since the introduction of GST on July 1, 2017, there are 357 amendments made. This is a joke with the tax system in the country and everyone is troubled. The traders who are from the villages where there is no electricity are being told to file their tax online. How can he do that?" he asked.
Sinha said the country is currently going through an "emergency-like situation", which is different from the emergency clamped in 1975 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
"Indira Gandhi's Emergency was different from today's emergency. One fine day, she announced emergency across the country and the people who were in opposition were jailed and media was censored. The step taken by her was a political one," he said.
"The emergency which we witness currently is an undeclared one. It is a slow poison which is being injected into the body politic of this country," Sinha added.
Sinha, who held finance and external affairs portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, walked out of the BJP on a bitter note.
He has been publicly opposing the Modi government's economic policies and style of functioning.
In a newspaper article, Sinha had criticised Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over what he called the "mess the finance minister has made of the economy" after which Jaitley hit back calling him "a job applicant at 80 years" who has forgotten his record as a finance minister.
He had also said that demonetisation had proved to be an "unmitigated economic disaster" and that the GST was "badly conceived and poorly implemented." He had also deprecated the Centre's handling of Kashmir.