Guwahati, Feb 10 (PTI) Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha Sunday claimed all the economical data, including the growth figures, are being “manipulated” by the BJP-led Central government to give a “false impression” of development.

Delivering a lecture on ‘State of the Nation and the way forward’ here, Sinha, who had quit the BJP last year, referred to the recent resignation of two members of the National Statistical Commission and the issue of data’s authenticity.

“In 2017, I said that it was difficult to trust government data. I am telling you with all sense of responsibility that I can command, that this is the first government in India which is manipulating data. No government did this earlier. This government is doing it continuously.

“All the current economical data are manipulated. The country is not growing at 7.5 per cent, it is not the fastest growing economy in the world. Own (NDA) data are revised upward and UPA’s data were revised downward,” he said.

During demonetisation period also, data were “fudged” and the country’s growth data was revised at 8.2 per cent, Sinha claimed.

He mentioned about writing an article in September 2017 on the country’s economical aspects, after which the government tried to deviate the topic by presenting it as a personal conflict between him and his son, who is also a minister in the Narendra Modi-government.

“The Prime Minister brought in Mahabharata and said that some people are cunning and always spoke depressing things. But I said I would not deviate from the topic, would not make it personal issue between father-son and would continue to raise the actual matter.

“Quoting Mahabharata, I said that only two brothers of Kauravas are known — Duryodhan and Dusshashana. Nobody knows who is the third in Kauravas. At most, people talk about Shakuni Mama. Today, BJP’s situation is like Kauravas — nobody knows who is the third person,” Sinha said without naming anyone.

The former Union Minister attacked the Prime Minister several times without taking his name for a single time and said that he (PM) “does not believe in democracy”.

“The democracy is not only about numbers. The essence of democracy is about consensus. The days of Parliament sessions were decreasing, the PM does not sit in the House and he does not reach out to the opposition. The whole session wash out. Why?” he asked.

Sinha also said that media is worst affected among all institutes during the present Central government with a “fear environment” everywhere.

“Voices are not heard, it is suppressed. In Delhi, it is said that daily instructions go from BJP on what to publish or telecast. The biggest problem is that the fourth pillar of the democracy has just collapsed. It is playing a big role in weakening our democracy,” he added.

Talking about RBI’s former Governor Urjit Patel’s resignation, Sinha said: “I don’t think the last word has been said about Patel’s resignation. One day when it will be opened, the truth will shock everyone. I know some information, but I don’t want to share it today with you because it may be termed an irresponsible statement.” He also attacked the prime minister on his alleged unilateral style of functioning saying that the Home Minister, the Defence Minister, the Finance Minister or the External Affairs Minister are “never consulted” before any important decision.

“Election Commission has also been influenced on occasions. It is not like that EVM cannot be hacked. We read that it malfunctions. If it malfunctions, then it can also be done manually. So why don’t we calculate the paper trails of VVPAT? Parties are demanding that 50 per cent of paper trails be counted. I also don’t understand why EC is so adamant,” Sinha said.

On announcing various schemes in the interim Union budget, the former Finance Minister said that the Constitution was “violated” by doing so.

Stating that the CBI’s credibility is at stake, Sinha said: “People in the country are disturbed. They are concerned with many issues. They are looking for a path of rescue. It is our duty to help people find that path.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.