Yashwant Sinha was named as the Opposition’s candidate for the position of India’s President on Tuesday. The Bharatiya Janata Party will also hold its parliamentary board meeting to confirm a candidate.

The 84-year-old served as the union finance minister during the first full term of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliances (NDA) government in 1998. He was the finance minister in the first three years of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. Sinha had held that portfolio in Chandra Shekhar’s Cabinet as well from November 1990 to June 1991. He was also the minister of external affairs from 2002 to 2004.

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Sinha is known as the first finance minister to table the Union Budget in the morning, breaking the colonial-era tradition of presenting the budget in the evenings. The former finance minister is also credited with pushing the construction of highways in India. He helped in boosting the funding of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) through a petroleum cess. 

During his tenure, Sinha de-regularised the petroleum industry and helped the telecom industry expand. He has written extensively about his fiscal policies in his book ‘Confessions of a Swadeshi Reformer’.

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Sinha is not just a politician but a former Indian administrator as well. He joined the Indian Administrative Services in 1960 and served there for over 24 years. He resigned from the civil services in 1984 and joined the Janata Dal to become an active politician. Sinha was elected as the Rajya Sabha member in 1988.

Quitting Janata Dal, he held the position of national spokesperson for BJP in 1996. He then went on to become union finance minister in 1998 and vice-president of the BJP in 2009.

A critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies, Sinha quit the BJP on April 21, 2018. 

He had received the highest French civilian distinction of Officier de la Légion d’Honneur in April 2015. 

Sinha is married to Nilima Sinha and together they have one daughter, Sharmila, and two sons, Jayant and Sumant.