Speaking for the first time since joining Congress last week, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha has said that even though he got offers from Trinamool, Samajwadi Party and AAP, he chose the Grand Old Party as it was a national party in the “true sense” and was also advised by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.
“Many people like Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal among others, wanted me to be in their party. But I had to come to this place because I had said that whatever be the situation, the location will be the same,” Sinha said.
Shatrughan on BJP leadership
Comparing the BJP of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the one under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, Sinha said earlier there was “lokshahi” (democracy) and now there was “tanashahi” (dictatorship) in the party.
“There used to be collective decision during Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji’s time. There was democracy in the true sense. But now, there is the case of one-man show and two-man army,” the two-term Patna Sahib MP told PTI.
Sinha’s decision to join the Congress comes days after the BJP dropped him and fielded Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from Patna Sahib. The 73-year-old, who has been openly critical of PM Modi and Shah and had been hobnobbing with Opposition leaders in the past few months, however, acknowledged that it was “painful” for him to leave the BJP — a party with which he has been associated for the past two decades.
Shatrughan on Congress, Rahul Gandhi
The former Union minister also said an important factor behind joining the Congress was that the Patna Sahib seat had gone to its quota in the seat-sharing agreement with Grand Alliance constituents.
“Our family friend Lalu Prasad also suggested ‘you go there (to the Congress). We are there with you and will be together politically also’,” said Sinha, who won the Patna Sahib seat back to back in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Hailing Rahul Gandhi’s leadership qualities, Sinha said the Congress chief’s “vision and dynamism” stood out among other leaders. “The way he has taken up issues boldly, he has proved himself and in one year as Congress president, he has won three states despite EVMs and many hurdles. He is the originator of the most popular slogan — ‘chowkidar chor hai‘,” Sinha said.
On whether Gandhi could be the next PM, Sinha said it depended on the number of seats Congress wins. “Rahul Gandhi has all the capabilities,” he added.