Shatrughan Sinha:Regret not being given a cabinet berth

Neelu Vyas

shatrughansinha

In an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha has again criticised the party he belongs to – the BJP.

Sinha raised questions on the functioning of the party and the over exposure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said that senior leaders like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have been sidelined only because there is a lack of talent in the party.

Popularly referred to as the Bihari Babu, Sinha regretted being denied a cabinet berth and claimed that his capabilities have not been recognised by the party.

On his controversial book ‘Anything But Khamosh’, he openly talks about his proximity to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whom he describes as a ‘star Prime Minister’.

Even though he has criticizes the BJP, he claims that he has never crossed the ‘laxman rekha’ of the party and therefore there is no question of quitting the party.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Is the party angry with you or are you disgruntled with party? Is that the reason that you have taken to tweeting so much?

When the party does not lend ears to me and my concerns I am left with no option but to tweet. It’s true that I have been denied political space. There is no doubt that I admire the PM Modi-led leadership. Media creates its own stories but all of those are short-lived.

Do you believe that you have crossed the ‘lakshman rekha’ of the party?

I cannot compromise with dignity. I completely respect and abide by the party line.

You have been meeting bitter critics of your party, what’s the message that you are trying to send out?

I share warm ties with Nitish and Lalu. Personal bonds are beyond politics

Are you planning to quit BJP? What are your issues?

No. BJP is my first party and will be my last. I have no permanent issues with the BJP. But it is true that I am hurt because I was denied a cabinet berth. I have never crossed the ‘laxman rekha’ you talked about.

Why were you ignored during Bihar polls?

It’s true that I did not have a voice during the Bihar elections. The results showed that the BJP eventually paid for ignoring me completely. All those who knew nothing about the state were given a major role to play during elections and I was ignored.

So, are you upset with party president Amit Shah?

Yes, I’m upset with Amit Shah’s role. I was deliberately kept out of all committees. At that time, I kept telling them that Paswan was an ideal face to be the Chief Minister. But I was ignored. The local BJP units were aware of the impending debacle in Bihar.

Do you think that the BJP is now introspecting?

The party should introspect and hold people accountable for the humiliating defeat. BJP had to forfeit deposits in 13 districts.

Why do you think senior leaders like you are being ignored?

I have the blessings of Advaniji and the RSS. I think the BJP is lacking in talented leaders. It is obvious that people should be held responsible and the Captains should face the music.

Are you hinting that Modiji or Amit Shah should be held responsible for the debacle in Bihar?

Overexposure of PM Modi is not advisable. It is true that BJP has come to power only because of Modiji.

In your recent book ‘Anything but Khamosh’, you have mentioned your proximity with Indira Gandhi. You have also called her a star PM, would that not be uncomfortable for Modiji?

Indira Gandhi is the biggest star Prime Minister. Modiji is a progressive Prime Minister. Modi deserves talented people and the support from everyone. For example, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan is a great mission.

Your book also talks about your rivalry with Amitabh Bachchan. Do you feel cheated that Amitabh never acknowledged your support in his success?

I share good vibes with Amitabh. What’s already done cannot be undone. Despite all our differences we still remain friends.

Your party is not listening to your concerns. What do you have to tell the party through this programme?

Anything but ‘khamosh’.

(You can watch the entire interview on the show To The Point at 10 pm on Wednesday and 1 pm on Thursday, only on Rajya Sabha TV)