Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha appointed as TMC vice president ahead of West Bengal polls

BJP leader turned TMC politician Yashwant Sinha has been appointed as the party's vice president and national working committee member. More than two years after he announced that he would be "taking sanyas from any kind of party politics" and cutting ties with the BJP, the former Union Minister had joined the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress on Saturday.

Over the last few years the TMC supremo has on several occasions found herself joining hands with Sinha and other critics against the BJP. Less than a month before his exit from the BJP, Banerjee had met Yashwant Sinha and several other politicians in Delhi. More recently, the two were signatories to a joint statement calling for the immediate release of three former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers.

But these are not the only instances when the two have worked in tandem. Banerjee and Sinha had been colleagues at the turn of the century, both serving as leading Ministers in in the Vajpayee Cabinet. Now, with mere weeks left before the state holds assembly elections, the two will once again be working together.

Contending that the country was facing an "unprecedented situation", the TMC leader said that while the BJP had believed in consensus during the era of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today's government believed in "crushing and conquering".

"Akalis, BJD have left the BJP. Today, who is standing with BJP?" he asked after joining the TMC. "The strength of democracy lies in the strength of the institutions of democracy. All these institutions including the judiciary have become weak now," he added.

It remains unclear whether Sinha will be contesting the upcoming polls.

The reaction from the BJP has been rather sharp.

"It's better to talk less about the opportunists. Yashwant Sinha sahab is aged now, perhaps he doesn't know calculations but both Atal Ji and Modi Ji have greatly worked for Eastern India," remarked Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan after Singh joined the rival party.

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