Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said the BJP would be able to live up to the expectations of people only if it ceased to be “a one-man show and a two-man army”. Sinha said the youth, farmers and the traders were dissatisfied with present policies of the saffron party.
“I feel we face a great challenge in both Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh in view of the dissatisfaction among the youth, farmers and traders. We must see the writing on the wall and avoid taking our opponents lightly”, Sinha told PTI here. Sinha, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, rubbished speculations that he was looking for an alternative to the BJP.
“I had not joined the BJP to leave it. But I would not mince words when I say that we cannot meet our challenges if we continue to be a one-man show and a two-man army,” he said in a clear indication to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s hold on the party.
The former Union minister said the party should stay united and fight boldly with the blessings of veteran leaders who have made enormous contributions to its growth. “I cannot understand the fault of veterans like Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie. Why were they sidelined or allowed to become estranged. We all have been like a family. If there were any mistakes, why were there no efforts at reconciliation?”
While Advani and Joshi, both founding members of the BJP, have been made members of the party’s Margdarshak Mandal, virtually signalling the end of their active political life, Yashwant Sinha and Shourie – both former Union ministers -have of late been vocal against the policies of the Narendra Modi government.
Sinha also stressed on the need for “taking an honest look” at the failures” and pointed out that the party should not deny that many lost their jobs after demonetisation. “The move to ban high-value notes last year has hardly weeded out black money from the system. GST has also come across as a complicated taxation system that seems to have benefitted only Chartered Accountants. Then we have rising oil prices despite fall in international rates of crude,” he said.
The BJP leader also blamed “arrogance” on the part of the party leadership for crises such as the Patidar agitation in Gujarat. “We failed to win over Hardik Patel who was ideologically closer to the BJP. Had we handled him properly, it would have been a stitch in time which would have saved nine,” he asserted.
Sinha also criticized the BJP government in Rajasthan for proposing a bill that barred the media from reporting on allegations against public servants and lawyers without prior sanction. “We have more examples which smack of growing arrogance in the party. The bill recently tabled in the Rajasthan Assembly, which could have serious ramifications with regard to the right to freedom of expression, is a case in point”, Sinha added.