Combined opposition candidate for presidential polls Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday said the country does not need a "silent president" but the one who uses his moral authority and discretion.
Sinha said this as he accused the BJP-led Union government of misusing central agencies against its political rivals. Sinha, who was here to seek support for the July 18 presidential polls, said if elected he will stop the misuse of central agencies like the ED, CBI and the Income Tax Department.
The country does not want a "silent president" but the one who uses his discretion and moral authority, he stressed. Sinha said he has spent 60 years in the administration and public life. "In 60 years, I never saw as much terror of the government agencies as I am witnessing now," he said.
He said when he was the finance minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he never thought of using these government agencies to fix political rivals and opponents. Now, the agencies are being "shamelessly" misused, the former Union ministers told reporters here.
He said some Shiv Sena MPs were pressuring Uddhav Thackeray to support the NDA candidate for the presidential polls.
Sinha said if he wins the presidential polls, "such things will stop the next day of taking oath" as the post of president is the highest position of the constitution and it carries a lot of dignity.
"If it has its use, apart from being the formal head of a state, then it is to use those powers and moral authority and ensure a government runs on the right track, not with confrontation but with dialogue," he said.
"If a president gives advice to a prime minister after calling him, then it becomes difficult for any PM to completely deny it," said Sinha. Referring to the rule of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sinha said politics based on consensus has now ended. Now, there is politics of conflict, said the former Union minister.
When reporters asked Sinha how much difference he finds between the BJP under Vajpayee and now, he replied, "The BJP is dead and gone". "At that time, within party and outside party consensus was the main thing which no longer is there," he claimed.
He also said atmosphere is prevailing in the country and the elections are being held under extraordinary circumstances. "If somebody is a Hindu, he is scared of Muslim and if somebody is Muslim, he scared of Hindu. Society has been divided on communal lines," said Sinha.
The former Union minister said he met Haryana Congress MLAs, who pledged their support to him. He was accompanied by Leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and state Congress chief Udai Bhan.
Thirty of the Congress MLAs were present and pledged their support to Sinha, said Hooda.
At present, the Congress has a strength of 31 MLAs in the 90-member Haryana assembly. Kuldeep Bishnoi, who is party MLA from Adampur, was expelled by the Congress from all party positions a month ago after he cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.
(with inputs from PTI)