India's former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, yesterday quit Bharatiya Janata Party.
Speaking in Patna, the capital of his home state Bihar, the 81-year-old veteran politician also said he would retire from party politics. He, however, added he would always be available to serve the country.
Sinha in the recent past launched a diatribe against Modi's government, especially its economic policies after the government's scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes in November 2016.
In January, he launched a political platform Rahstriya Manch and was joined by a number of politicians including BJP lawmaker and actor Shatrughan Sinha, who is also another detractor of the Modi government.
Addressing a meeting of the Manch yesterday, Sinha said he did not want to convert the platform into a fully-fledged political party ahead of the parliamentary elections due early next year.
Born on November 6, 1937, Sinha, a former bureaucrat, was influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan's socialist movement of the mid-seventies. Between 1980 and 1984, he was a joint secretary in the Ministry of Surface Transport before he resigned from the Indian Administrative Service in 1984 and joined active politics as a member of BJP.
He was appointed all-India general secretary of the party in 1986 and was elected a member of the Rajya Sabha, upper House of parliament, in 1988.
When Janata Dal was formed in 1989, he was appointed its general secretary. He worked as the finance minister from November 1990 to June 1991 in PM Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet.
Sinha became the national spokesperson of BJP in June 1996 and was appointed the finance minister of India in March 1998.