Camera: Shiv Kumar Maurya and Mukul BhandariVideo Editor: Deepthi RamdasRelentless — is the title of former union minister Yashwant Sinha’s newly-released autobiography. Sinha quit the BJP in 2018 after he reached an ideological impasse with his party. The book encompasses his journey spanning eight decades and many continents. In this exclusive interview with The Quint, Sinha talks about his relentless soul, and candidly admits to his mistakes.He also voices his opinions about PM Modi, the present BJP government, and his son, Jayant, for whom he vacated his Hazaribagh constituency.Following is an excerpt from this interview:I want to come straight away to the last pages of the book because I think they are the most fascinating ones where you are talking about the failings and the things that have gone wrong.I would have been less than faithful to the task of writing an autobiography if I had not talked about my failures. I used to be a rash young person in my younger days, and there is an expression in English — enthusiasm cooled by experience. Yashwant Sinha laments steady erosion of Indian institutionsSinha And Social MediaNow, I am very tempted to ask about your son, Jayant. You tweeted about him, the ‘Layak’ and ‘Nalayak’ tweet. Tell me more about it.That was misunderstood. That tweet has been largely misunderstood because when I drifted away from the Bhartiya Janta Party and Mr Modi in particular, there were many people who were saying that I was a ‘nalayak’ baap of a ‘layak’ beta. That was the kind of trolling which was taking place on social media. Then, when Jayant did the garlanding of the so-called lynchers, who had been released on bail by the high court in Ranchi, people started trolling him. Therefore, I said this is the world of Twitter, the world of social media where you immediately become a villain from a hero. That was the meaning of that tweet, that I was a ‘nalayak’ father of a ‘layak’ beta, and now they are saying he is nalayak and I am layak.Jayant Sinha Dumps Dad Yashwant Sinha’s Legacy: We Wonder WhyBut you are seen to have aced the game of social media. Well, I don’t know. My attitude is that I’ll tweet on things which I find very important, but I’ll not respond to trolls. ‘Bhakts’ – I’ll not even look at them.That’s fascinating because some of your tweets — the ‘bhakts’ would like to argue — are also quite provocative. Like comparing Mr Modi, the Prime Minister, with Hitler. You tweeted about that. What do you have to say about that?It’s very simple. I get very scared. I am telling you today, genuinely, I get very scared with this kind of euphoria for anyone in our politics. Some euphoria is good but this kind of euphoria... the Varanasi procession. All the flowers being showered and everything else which was all stage-managed, as we know. It was then that I said that look at the old pictures and you’ll find similar crowds in Hitler’s Germany, hailing Hitler. This is not good for democracy.‘The Will of the People Can Be Manipulated’Right. But doesn’t democracy also mean that it is the will of the people?Of course, it’s the will of the people.That’s the ultimate test of democracy. But the will of the people can be manipulated. After all, Hitler in Germany was elected. He didn’t come and seize power. The famous ‘putsch’ that he did came later. So, the point I am making is, the will of the people must prevail, people must be given an opportunity to independently come to their conclusions. But when somebody is in complete command of all the means of communication, what is the alternative that exists? I’ll tell you the example of complete command over the means of communication. I was in Hazaribagh, which is my place, and elections had not taken place. A family came to see me. They had a small child with them. So they asked me to listen to what the child has to say. That child said, “I am going to vote for Modi”. So, they told him to also tell why he wanted to vote for Modi and the child said, “because he defeated Pakistan.” I was stunned. A four-year-old child, in a distant place like Hazaribagh, is saying he will vote for Modi because Modi defeated Pakistan.But a supporter of Mr Modi would like to argue that he has been successful in presenting a picture that fetches the party votes, that fetches the party its required numbers.Okay, fine. But the point I am making is that you achieve this by controlling, sometimes illegitimately, the means of communication, the media. Look at what’s happened to the media in this country. I will also give you another example that Arun Shourie, Prashant Bhushan, and I were addressing a conference on the Rafale deal in the Press Club in Delhi. After the question-answer were over, the press conference was over, I just made a remark that I don’t know how many media houses are going to cover what we’ve said to which a young press person responded, “would you give me a job if I lost mine?” That is the stark reality.A Bitter Member of the Old Guard?You’ve made a very important point and I am trying to play the devil’s advocate here. So, do you realise that your criticism of the party and Mr. Modi, in particular, has also been seen as the formulation of a bitter member of the old guard of the party?That’s why I’ve written this book and you’ll find all the answers contained here. When I am trolled, and this must be the party line, everyone says I did not become a minister, I was not given a post and that is why I am saying what I am saying. Was Modi around when I gave up the IAS? What was the motivation when I was doing ‘padyatra’ in villages? Where even the lowliest-placed government employees would treat me with scant respect. What was the motivation when V P Singh offered, as I say in this book, the governorship of Punjab to me and I said no? What was the motivation when I personally decided myself that I will not contest an election which I was sure to win in 2014? I don’t need a certificate from anyone on that score that I am a patriot, I am a nationalist.Young Yashwant, Old YashwantThree biggest mistakes of your life?Difficult to pinpoint but I would say taking emotional decisions.Like what?Not always based on logic. For instance, leaving the IAS. It was a purely emotional decision. There was no rational basis for it.But that’s not a mistake really.No, I don’t know. In retrospect, it may not look like a mistake but at that point of time it was a huge mistake. I mean, after putting in 24 years of service suddenly you leave it one day. To do what? To contest one election and get ten thousand votes in Lok Sabha? That’s what I got in my first election way back in 1984.Society worships success and I was a loser at that point of time.But then, as I said, I was a rash young person in my earlier days. And the quarrel with the Chief Minister in the district I was posted as Deputy Commissioner in those days, was entirely avoidable. When I met the Chief Secretary of Bihar B D Pande for my final call as I was leaving Bihar for Delhi, he told me, as I’ve mentioned in the book — “In the civil service, Yashwant, you need the skin of a Rhinoceros.”Same goes for politics, sir?Even more. If there is an animal which has a thicker skin than a Rhinoceros, then you need that kind of skin in politics. But unfortunately, neither in the civil service nor in politics, I’ve been able to develop that kind of skin. Therefore, I’ve suffered.So, that was the rashness in me which has survived in some measure to this day is perhaps another mistake. The third mistake relates to the family where I feel that I should’ve given more time to my children.The relationship between you and your son… because he very much remains a part of a setup that you have retreated from. Would you like to say a bit about that?No, it is very clear. He is still there. He has continued to be there. He is fully committed, fully loyal to them and our political paths have diverged. We are not on the same page as far as the politics of this country is concerned. We are a family that neither he nor I can deny because it’s god given. So, we continue to have the best of relationship as far as the family is concerned but as far as politics is concerned, we have our differences.Do you argue about things?No. We don’t. We don’t talk about it.That’s a good line to take there. Peace in the family.Ya!Bitterness, Courtesies, And RelationshipsThe other thing I wanted to ask you is about the expression that you’ve used, “The law of diminishing courtesy”— when you move from interacting at a higher level to a lower level, it dips and vice versa is also true. I see a very important political message there.I based my theory of the law of diminishing courtesy on the basis of my personal experience. You are absolutely right in saying that it operates in the other way. Sometimes, you meet people where the clerk is the most courteous person, you go up the line and you will find less and less courtesy.Would you like to say a little more about that...your relationship with the party workers.The political relationship is over but the personal relationship has continued. This is again something which I’ve learned from Chandrashekhar, who was my political guru in a way. Mrs. Gandhi arrested and put Mr. Chandrashekhar in a prison for 19 months. He still had a great deal of regard for her and was the first to rush to her whenever something unfortunate happened.But do you see that all of that is changing now?It is changing and it’s a very unfortunate development that it is changing for the worse because there is much much more bitterness in politics. I’ve also described my time that I spent with Karpoori Thakur when I was in the IAS and was his principal secretary. And I’ve said at one point of time that he belonged to a backward caste and he was ill-treated by the landlords of the village. But he carried no bitterness in his mind. So, great people don’t carry bitterness. Today, unfortunately, there is a great deal of bitterness in politics.BJP: A Party of Jumlas NowBut sir, the Prime Minister, right after winning this election, made a statement now it’s the era ‘sabka sath, sabka vikas, and sabka vishwas’. Do you not believe in that?No, I don’t.Why?Because these are just words, ‘jumlas’. Unfortunately, my old party, the BJP, has become famous for ‘jumlas’. If you want to win ‘sabka vishwaas’, are we winning the vishwaas of minorities in the country? Are we doing enough to ensure that they have faith in this government? No. And when that gap increases between what you say and what you practice, then it becomes a jumla.You sound very pessimistic at the moment.I’ve never been a pessimist in my life. I believe in the judgement of the people in this country and they have shown that they are capable of taking the right decisions at the right time. So, whoever thinks they can manipulate the minds of the people forever are mistaken.Government Has No OppositionBut that hasn’t happened. Unemployment has been growing in the past five years, the economy was slowing down yet people, the youth of this country actually went out and voted for the BJP for the second time.I agree with that but I am saying that this is how you manipulate the minds of the people. By projecting your failures as your successes. I am telling you today that no government in the past, in this country, has manipulated data in the way this government is doing. Even in the latest budget that just happened. Unfortunately, the opposition is weak and notable to make a point out of these things as much as they should. So, they are getting away with everything. There is no challenge. And that is the way they would perhaps want. There must be the silence of the graveyard.Indian parliament has seen the days when opposition voices were much fewer, two-three decades ago. And the points were still being raised. What is stopping or stalling the opposition today? They are unable to get their act together. Look at the congress party, what is happening there.I know, I know. I am more aware of it than you are perhaps because I am in this field. Therefore, the point I am making is… there is a saying in English that the people get the government they deserve. I will add to it.. that they also get the opposition they deserve. So, today we’ve got the government we deserve and the opposition we deserve. Just to point out I’ll give you one example, petrol and diesel prices were raised. Petrol by 2 rupees 50 paise and diesel by 2 rupees 30 paise per litre in the budget. Was there a protest in the streets? Did any political party take to the streets to protest against this? Why? Because the opposition has become supine.Or inept?Even inept. And you are talking about the congress party.Unfortunately, the congress party’s record in governance has been very poor. So, if there is an issue, it is very easy for them to get the reply that you did worse. We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.