Jawahar Sircar, who was nominated by the TMC as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha by-poll, is a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government.
Former CEO of Prasar Bharati Jawahar Sircar, who was nominated by the TMC as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha by-poll, said that he wasn’t expecting the nomination and thought that party leaders Yashwant Sinha or Mukul Roy would be the candidate.
Jawahar Sircar is likely to go to the Rajya Sabha as the TMC holds a massive majority in the West Bengal Assembly and the main opposition party, the BJP, is unsure whether to nominate a candidate.
“It came as quite a surprise, I was neither expecting nor thinking about it because I knew Yashwant Sinha or Mukul Roy would get it,” said Jawhar Sircar.
Jawahar Sircar, who also served as Secretary in the Ministry of Culture from late-2008 to February 2012, is a vocal critic of the Narendra Modi government. However, instead of only criticism, he is also hoping to raise “many issues” during his time in the upper house of Parliament.
How It Happened
Jawahar Sircar said he was informed about his nomination at around 1 pm on Saturday. He took 30 minutes to decide and eventually nodded to the TMC’s plea. However, there were no reasons given from the TMC on why he was being selected for Rajya Sabha.
“They say we want a strong voice against the Modi government. Because after I resigned from Mr. Modi’s administration, I have been a bitter critic, not just for the sake of being a critic, because bureaucrats are trained to be tolerant and trained to keep their mouths shut. But I could not keep my mouth shut because I saw one disaster after another,”Jawahar Sircar
When asked what these disasters were, Sircar elaborated, “Demonetisation is one of them. No one in the government knew about demonetisation. I am a government servant, I know what I am talking about and it was ill advice between a Gujarati officer and him (PM Modi). We were not even sure whether Mr. Jaitley (former finance minister Arun Jaitley) was informed at the right time.”
More on Demonetisation
Demonetisation was the beginning of the many nails in the coffin for Jawahar Sircar. “What happened thereafter was a disaster that shattered the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) industry. I was the first development Commissioner of MSMEs, so I have an umbilical cord with the MSME sector,” he said.
“They were howling from day 1, but there was no one to listen. The MSME sector, which provides 95 per cent of employment, lies shattered due to someone’s ego. While I was working, I realized that he (PM Modi) didn’t know how to drive a car. He had all the might but was not adept at it. I kept wondering how he managed to drive the state of Gujarat. But then it is more of style and statement than of substance. I realized that I have to make my statements clear,” said Jawahar Sircar when speaking of PM Modi’s policy implementation process.
On November 8, 2016, the Government of India had demonetised all the existing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes, in a bid to “curb black money”. However, Jawahar Sircar didn’t buy the idea. He said, “Black money is not just black money it is about which angle you are looking from.”
Jawahar Sircar further said that people did not openly speak against the move as they were still in awe of the Modi government in its first few years.
He added, “When the results of demonetisation came out, its effects became clear that notes worth approximately Rs17 lakh crores that were demonetised had come over the corpses of about hundreds of people who died in bank queues. The entire Rs17 lakh crores had come back. Then what did you do demonetisation for?”
On being branded a PM Modi critic
“These are things that only people who have run a kitchen and not seen a microwave from outside know. So I consider it a part of my bounded duty to start examining these things and bring out an endoscopic analysis. Since I have been bringing them out, I have been branded as an extreme critic,” said Jawahar Sircar.
The former Prasar Bharati CEO, however, clarified that his criticism is not only limited to PM Modi. “I am an extreme critic of only those faulty policies because somebody had to be extreme. People in all governments are prohibited from speaking. People who have left the government feel that safety and decorum are more important than opening your mouth.” Jawahar Sircar explained.
He went on to say that retired bureaucrats expect that the government which they worked for will give them some alignment or induct them into some committees.
“There is an expectation that makes them keep quiet. I never had these reasons because I had no intention of joining any committees. There is no point in being a passenger on a bus that is driven wildly. My emotions have made me a critic and I have been chosen for that role,” elaborated Jawahar Sircar.
On the role of Rajya Sabha MP:
“I would like to raise many issues within the time and role of the Rajya Sabha with domain knowledge. It is not just criticism. Criticism from the political angle is one thing and criticism with domain knowledge is another thing,” the TMC Rajya Sabha nominee said.
When asked whether the TMC platform would help him in getting his points heard for the welfare of people, Jawahar Sircar said, “Let us see. Everything is a shot in the dark. As I have not been in politics, I have no expertise. Let us see how things pan out.”