PATNA Saheb BJP candidate Shatrughan Sinha, who is up against Congress candidate and Bhojpuri actor Kunal Singh, JD(U)’s Gopal Prasad Sinha, a doctor, and AAP’s Parbeen Amanuallah, a former minister, hopes his “stardom” and “Bihari babu image”, along with the Narendra Modi wave, will help BJP retain its bastion, which goes to polls on April 17.
His strategy is simple. He uses his star status often, invokes “action hero Modi” to connect with voters, mixes his speech with Urdu and Hindu couplets, and justifies his “inaccessibility” citing social and film commitments. He also relies heavily on his iconic, monosyllabic dialogue — “Khaamosh (silent)”.
Of Friday, his campaign starts with a nukkad sabha at a market in Dariyapur in old Patna where party workers have raised a small platform.
Workers gather crowds by distributing saffron scarves, caps and Modi masks. Two of them, Pankaj and Himanshu, deliver passionate speeches on inflation, terrorism and unemployment. At 6 pm, there is a flurry of activity. The star has arrived. People rush to shake his hand. After the chaos, Sinha gets up on the stage and spreads his arms. The crowd — including people from nearby houses who are up on their roofs — cheer.
“Khaamosh,” he begins. Sinha, who has his paternal house at Nala Road in the area, says, “I am getting emotional. I can see my Patna Collegiate School from here. I used to bunk school at times. When teachers noticed, I took this route to run home.” Youngsters roar; Sinha knows he has got the connect.
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“I was the first youth to become an actor from Bihar and Jharkhand. I was the first person from the entertainment world to become a cabinet minister at Centre,” he says, adding that he is not praising himself but telling the youth of Bihar that with their talent, they can do better than him.
So far, there is no mention of what he did or intends to do for the constituency.
Next, he invokes the BJP PM candidate. “We are on our way to form a government led action hero and dabang Narendra Modi. I have come here to invite you to join the process of change and give NDA a majority,” he says.
From there, he moves on to another nukkad sabha near Golghar. A few youths display a placard saying that he seeks votes but then goes “Khaamosh (silent)” for five years. “I know people complain of not being able to meet me frequently. Their complain is justified… BJP has made me a star campaigner, who has travel across India…” he says
He goes on to slam the UPA government for various scams — “railgate, khelgate and coalgate”. Every time he delivers a punch line, a young man shouts, “Jiyo, jiyo.”
Sinha then reaches Ramnagri Modi, where he talks about the same issues — his journey and his achievements.