New Delhi: Former BJP minister Yashwant Sinha has alleged that two of the flagship projects of the NDA were his ideas. Claiming that the National Highway Development Project (NHDP) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) were his brainchild, Sinha has also accused his then colleagues of “unfairly” misappropriating his ideas.
Sinha was a part of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government between 1998 and 2004. The diplomat-turned-politician held the Finance and External Affairs portfolios. Before that, he had also served as the finance minister during the brief term of Chandra Shekhar in 1990-91.
Sinha has explained his allegation in his autobiography ‘Relentless’. He says, “The national highway project was entirely my idea. For me, it (NHDP) was not a new thought. I had nurtured it from the time I had been posted in Germany in the 1970s. Germany is famous for its autobahns (a federal controlled-access highway system).”
“I had resolved way back then that I would bring similar autobahns to India whenever I had the chance,” he says. NHDP, the 1998 scheme, includes the Golden Quadrilateral connecting four metropolises besides the North-South Corridor connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari and the East-West Corridor joining Porbandar to Silchar.
In his book, Sinha, who quit the BJP last year, has claimed that the PMGSY scheme was also his idea. He recalls his meeting with Vajpayee where he first suggested a new scheme for the construction of rural roads and earmarking separate funds for the same.
“I had even suggested that the programme be named Atal Bihari Vajpayee Gram Sadak Yojana. Though Vajpayee accepted the idea, he rejected the suggestion to name the scheme after him,” he says. He adds that the “resounding success” of the rural roads scheme has led to many “fake paternity claims”.
“They are all wrong. Some of these ‘fake fathers’ may have been involved in the design or implementation of the scheme, but the scheme itself was not conceived by them,” he says. As to why he never staked a claim for these ideas, the 81-year-old politician says, “It was already an ingrained part of my nature when I joined politics, so I never went out of my way to seek publicity.
He says in the book that though he was “hurt”, he was never upset that Vajpayee took credit as the veteran leader was not only the “head of the government” but also
“our tallest leader”.
“In the course of time, this (NHDP) emerged as a flagship programme of the Vajpayee government, and full credit was given to the PM for launching it. I did not mind, nor did I ever claim it as entirely my idea,” he says.