LUV Sinha says the loss from Bankipur by 39,000 votes to three-time BJP MLA Nitin Nabin isn’t end of the road. “I knew what I was getting into. I was up against a party that would do everything to win,” says the Congress nominee.
For Shatrughan Sinha though, the loss might be tougher. Son Luv’s defeat is the third in a row in the family. Bankipur, from where Luv lost, could almost be called Sinha’s pocketborough, with the actor having represented Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat under which it falls as a BJP MP from 2009 to 2019.
Last year, after the BJP denied him a ticket from there, Sinha moved on to the Congress to fight against Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and lost. His wife Poonam Sinha took on Union minister Rajnath Singh in Lucknow simultaneously on an SP ticket, and lost.
Speaking over the phone from Patna, Luv says, “I knew Bankipur was not a safe seat. It took a lot of strength to contest from there. And, 44,000 votes for a debut seems good.”
There were 22 candidates in the race. Luv finished second with 43,908 votes. Another high-profile candidate, Pushpam Priya of Plurals Party, came third with 5,176 votes.
Sinha, in Patna with Luv, says the 37-year-old fought with “passion, (but) not much can be done when one is surrounded by undesirable elements”, referring to the allegations by the RJD and the Congress that returning officers had not been fair in declaring the results.
Sinha also says he didn’t “campaign much for Luv” and that it was his son’s decision to contest on a Congress ticket.
“It was based on people’s demand and Congress command.”
Adds Sinha, “It’s about seeing the glass as half full or half empty… I lost my first election too (against former superstar Rajesh Khanna from New Delhi seat in the early Nineties). In the general elections last year, both my wife and I finished second… The EVM controversy has been there… (But) I don’t blame anyone.”
While Luv calls the results “unexpected” for Mahagathbandhan, he says he would rather leave it to “seniors to debate charges”.
About his future plans, Luv says while he has “professional commitments” in Mumbai, he will continue to live and work in Patna. “I will not be an opportunist and abandon the Congress. These elections were about youth politicians, but things will take some time to change on the ground. As a young leader, one has to be careful, the older lot has experience and tactics on its side.”
It’s definitely not “the end”. “Someone wrote on Twitter about us asking ‘Is this the end?’. How could that be? The BJP remained out of power for several years since it was founded, was it the end for them?” Luv says.
As for the BJP, that door might not be closed either, Sinha hints. “In politics, one can’t say anything. But under no circumstance will I compromise with my dignity.”