The Yashwant Sinha Column – How I lost an opportunity to become Prime Minister
16 May 2014, the day the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha took place, started for me on a very hopeful note. I had been a Finance Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government earlier. Given that L. K Advani was the only contemporary senior BJP leader still active in 2014 and he too had become old, I fancied my chance becoming the Prime Minister. Given our history, I was confident that the NDA would never get a majority and then Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister would be out of question. Leaders like me who unite rather than polarize would be naturally considered for the top post.
The day started well and the NDA pulled ahead of the UPA as results poured in. My happiness knew no bounds as the NDA paced from 50 to 100 to 150 to 200 seats. But as the NDA surged past 225, I began to get concerned. I just wished the tally stayed at 225 but unfortunately it surged all the way to 272 and beyond. But I still kept hopes alive given that I had good rapport with the BJP allies. However, to my horror, the surge continued and the BJP went past 272 on its own.
That day I remembered my childhood when as a kid, I used to play marbles with my friends. There was one game with marbles in particular. A line would be drawn in sand and all of us would stand a few meters away and throw the marble towards the line. The kid whose marble stopped closest to the line would win. But if a kid’s marble crossed the line, he would be disqualified and would lose his marble. What would happen with me often is that as I threw my marble, it would overtake all other marbles and come closest to the line and I would get excited that I was going to win.
However, my marble would not stop there but go past the line thereby disqualifying me. As the BJP went past 282 seats, I got that childhood feeling of my marble crossing the line. I got a feeling I had lost my marbles.