While addressing a gathering of company secretaries at the golden jubilee celebrations of the ICSI in New Delhi on Wednesday, October 4, PM Narendra Modi had compared ‘pessimistic’ critics within his party to Mahabharata’s character Shalya. In response to the PM’s “pessimists” comment, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha on Thursday, October 5, while speaking at an book unveiling event reciprocated by comparing PM Modi and BJP President Amit Shah with Duryodhana and Dushasan — the eldest Kaurava brothers. “These people suffer from Shalya-vrutti (pessimism). They sleep well only after they spread a feeling of pessimism all around. We need to recognize such people,” PM Modi had said in his address.

Yashwant Sinha had been invited by Congress leader and former Union Minister Manish Tewari to unveil his latest book Tidings of Troubled Times. Addressing a gathering at the event Yashwant Sinha said that “darr” (fear) and democracy cannot go together. He urged the people to take a stand to save parliamentary democracy.

“Mahabharata has been the flavour of the last couple of days since yesterday. And characters from Mahabharta have suddenly appeared. Some people are talking about Shalya. I don’t know how much they know about Shalya.
“In Mahabharata, there are two famous characters — Duryodhana and Dushsana. The Kauravas were 100 brothers. Out of them only two became famous, Duryodhana and Dushasana,” Sinha said. Sinha in his address recalled the days when stalwarts like Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (both ex PMs) set high ethical standards in politics.

“The soul of democracy is consensus. So even if you have the numbers, you have to reach out to other people and parties to try and get them along,” Sinha mentioned.

Attacking the BJP’s “Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan Sinha said, “Nobody talked about Mukt-this Mukt-that because we are all part of the democratic process and we know that democracy means discussion, debate and an evolution of consensus based on these discussion.

He stressed on the need to have debates and discussions in a healthy democratic setup. Sharing his past experiences and learnings in politics Sinha recalled how he had learnt from his seniors to not let ones political persuasions affect personal relations. “So when I was approached to come to this function to release the book by Manish Tewari, I readily agreed, he said.