Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha joins TMC ahead of West Bengal polls

Former BJP leader and Union Minister Yashwant Sinha has joined the Trinamool Congress. Updates shared by news agency ANI shows the former Finance Minister arriving at the TMC Bhawan in Kolkata and formally joining the party.

The move comes mere weeks before the state begins a multi-phased Assembly election. It is not clear whether Sinha will be contesting. A few days ago, the politician had dubbed the upcoming state elections a "battle for India".

"The voters in Bengal will vote for the future of India in this election," he had opined on Twitter.

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.

Incidentally, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and Sinha had been colleagues at the turn of the century, both serving as leading Ministers in in the Vajpayee Cabinet. Recently, after Mamata incurred injuries in Nandigram, he had lambasted the BJP for its reaction. And according to him, this was the "tipping point" that prompted him to join the TMC.

This is not Sinha's first foray into politics recently. Some two years after he left the BJP, Sinha had returned to the political arena ahead of the Bihar Assembly elections. He floated a new outfit, the United Democratic Alliance and announced his intention to contest the Bihar Assembly polls.

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