13 Mar 2021: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joins TMC ahead of polls
Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, today joined the Trinamool Congress.
He joined the party in the presence of TMC Member of Parliament Derek O' Brien and other leaders at the Trinamool Bhavan in Kolkata.
The move has come just weeks ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, due to start later this month.
Here are more details.
Fact: 'Country going through an extraordinary situation'
"You must be surprised why at this age when I'd distanced myself from party politics, why am I joining a party and turning active? I'd like to say the country is going through an extraordinary situation (sic)," Sinha reportedly said after joining the TMC.
Details: Sinha was the Finance Minister during 1998-2002
Sinha, 83, had first become the Union Finance Minister in November 1990 and remained in office till June 1991, serving under then-Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.
His second tenure in the Union Cabinet was from December 1998 to July 2002 in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government.
From then until May 2004, he was the country's Minister of External Affairs.
Details: He had quit the BJP in 2018
A former IAS officer of the 1960 batch, Sinha had entered politics in 1984, beginning his plunge with the Janata Party and later joining the BJP.
However, in the past decade, Sinha was believed to have been sidelined by younger leaders within the party.
He turned a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government and quit the party in 2018.
Elections: Elections in Bengal to begin on March 27
The upcoming Bengal elections are being seen as a direct fight between two-term Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and the BJP, which has seen a resurgence there in the recent past.
The state Assembly elections in Bengal will be held across eight phases, from March 27 to April 29, and the results will be declared on May 2.
Situation: Several TMC leaders shifted loyalties recently
Sinha's joining the ruling party in Bengal will be viewed as a great boost for the TMC, that has seen many of its leaders and cadres quitting in the past few months.
Some popular Trinamool leaders such as Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee have quit the party to join the BJP.
Recently, popular actor Mithun Chakraborty also joined the saffron party.