Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha, who has emerged as a vocal critic of his former party, on Saturday joined Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC). Election in West Bengal is to be held in eight phases starting March 27.

The octogenarian who served as Union Finance Minister and Foreign Minister in the erstwhile Chandrashekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee administration, took the TMC membership in the presence of senior party leaders Derek O Brien, Sudip Bandopadhyay, and Subrata Mukherjee.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was not able to attend the ceremony due to her leg injury that she incurred when she was assaulted by her political enemies in Kolkata a few days ago, TMC leaders said.

Without mincing words, Sinha, originally from pre-Jharkhand Bihar, said that India was faced with an unique situation under Modi-Shah regime where democratic principles had taken a back seat and authoritarianism had become the new way of life.

“The democratic institutions, including the judiciary and election commission, have lost their credibility since the Modi government came into power. There is no one that can control this government. The Modi administration now believes in crush and conquer. Even the Election Commission is not unbiased any longer,” he said.

Interestingly, while Yashwant Sinha has remained a strong critic of the Modi government voicing his opinion through press release, op-eds, and social media, another former BJP leader and Union Minister from Bihar, Shatrughan Sinha, has mostly faded away after losing his MP bid from Patna Saheb in the last Lok Sabha elections which he contested on a Congress Party ticket after walking out of the BJP.