Shatrughan Sinha, BJP candidate in Patna Sahib, discusses local protests, the Delhi option he turned down and Narendra Modi in this interview to D K Singh.
Your seat has a significant number of Muslims. How do you think they will react to imam Bukhari’s appeal to vote for the Congress?
I am focusing on my election and I am not going beyond the goal of winning it and contributing to the formation of a government under the able, respectable, visionary, dabang, action hero Narendra Modi as prime minister. I have always appealed to Muslims and all minorities not to get carried away by what others are saying… I always tell my friends, ‘Don’t vote for us today if you don’t want to, but because of our work, you will come to us one day’. Dushmani jam ke karo, par itni gunjayeesh rahe: jab kabhi doshta ban jayen, to sharminda na hon.
BJP workers showed black flags when you went to file your nomination because they feel you are an absentee MP.
On a lighter note, getting black flags is a status symbol. Unfortunately, I got only 20-25 (black flags) from misguided people sponsored by vested interests. It’s all over now. I have forgiven them. As for why, I don’t care. It is devoid of any reasoning. Find out from airports, police stations, and from my office how many times I come to this place. Assuming that I don’t care about the constituency, I had a choice. My party had offered me a choice in Delhi…
Why didn’t you agree?
It depends on how you look at it — half-full or half-empty glass. Some would argue I would have influenced all the seven seats in Delhi. Some others would say, over here, I could be an influential factor in all seats in Bihar.
Your Congress opponent, Bhojpuri actor Kunal Singh, has termed it a “prince versus pauper” contest.
I treat him very affectionately. I don’t agree with his prince-versus-pauper remark but I agree it’s a matter of issues, of different ideologies. We have nothing against each other. I would like the people of India to have a look at the Patna Sahib election: no abuses, no contempt, no personal attack. I have friends across party lines, be it Lalu Prasad or Nitish Kumar. Our political opponents are not enemies.
How do you think the election results would impact Bihar?
We are looking at a Rajesh Khanna phenomenon of superstardom. I never thought Modi has reached people’s hearts even in such interior areas and people are looking at him as what that Pyaasa song said, “lakh dukhon ki ek dawaa hai, kahe ghabraye, kahe ghabraye, tel malish, tel malish”. Modi as prime minister will have a tremendous impact on Bihar politics.
Have you ever thought of entering state politics?
When I came into politics, I had never planned to become the first person from the cinema industry to become a full-fledged union cabinet minister. I also learnt that power is a medium for development, not for 2G, 3G or jijaji. As for state politics, Advaniji always wished so but I would say no. I am happy in Delhi.