Shatrughan Sinha on contesting the elections again from Patna amidst loud protests & murmurs of dissent within his own party.
You were greeted by protesters in your constituency on Patna. How come?
These so-called protesters looked to me like hired junior artistes from a Bollywood political drama. They looked suspiciously sponsored by some vested interests. And they seem to have a one-point agenda: to get some space in the media by latching on to my name. Having said that, I must admit black-flag protesters are a sure sign of political clout. Wasn’t Arvind Kejriwal greeted with black flags by protesters? I think if black-flag protests don’t happen then the politician is not happening enough (laughs). On a more serious note, if these so-called protesters have a problem with my candidature they should talk directly to the party high command. The parliamentary board has cleared my candidature. Should I listen to my party or to these handful of protesters?
If I am not mistaken there were protests against your candidature during the last elections as well?
Yes, some people from the naukar-daai sangh had protested. I was later told that protest too was sponsored. These protesters are too late in their attempts to oppose me. I’ve already been declared a candidate by the parliamentary board and none other than Mr Rajnath Singh has proposed my name for the Patna seat. If they’ve a problem with me this is not to show their displeasure. And haven’t I come to my constituency now to wash away those grievances? Let the majority decide whether I am worthy of being re-elected. The poll predictions are that I’d win by an even larger majority than the last time by the support and blessings of the people. I forgive the protesters because all said and done they are misguided elements from my own extended family.
There were also some questions raised within your party about your daughter Sonakshi not campaigning for the party?
She isn’t here campaigning for her own father then why would she campaign for others? She is busy with her career. And she is apolitical. Let her be. Let me reiterate I don’t need any star power in my campaign.
Strangely Bhojpuri actor Kunal Singh has been pitched as the Congress candidate against you in the Patna constituency?
Kunal says I’m like his elder brother. He has tremendous respect and regard for me. And I’ve tremendous affection for him. He must been coaxed into standing against me by his party high-command. During the last elections they had pitched poor Shekhar Suman against me. Bechara he’s such a good boy. He even lost his deposit.
There is talk of dissent between you and your party the BJP?
One thing is for sure. The party has become like an action-oriented drama. The action hero has taken over.
Are you talking about Narendra Modi?
My tongue is firmly in my cheek. The leadership seems preoccupied with many things at the moment. Who is the leader is for you to decide. The part is fully charged, poised for the leap. As far as my own dissatisfaction goes I’d rather look at the glass as half-filled than half-empty.
How are your relations with Narendra Modi?
Very good! He is a tried-and-tested leader. He has done so well in Gujarat. We share a great professional rapport, though we may not be that close on a personal level. It’s become fashionable to declare oneself a close friend of Narendra Modiji or Rahul Gandhi. But sorry, I am neither Modiji’s right or left hand. I am who I am without attaching myself to anyone. But that doesn’t mean I’d question his place in the party when it (Modi’s place in the BJP) has been verified by the parliamentary board and no less than Rajnath Singh.
Are you supporting Narendra Modiji’s candidature for prime minister ship?
This isn’t the right time to answer this. However I must say that Mr L K Advani is a friend, philosopher, guide and guru to me. He is a godfather to the entire party. I am sure the action hero Mr Narendra Modi has Mr Advani’s blessings.
Apparently there was a lot of dispute within the BJP about your candidature?
Though Patna was my first and final choice as a constituency I was told to fight elections from the Delhi constituency because they felt I could influence the voting pattern of all the seats in Delhi. But I said no. Only Patna for me. Jeena yahan marna yahan isske siva jaana kahaan. Once a Bihari Babu always a Biharu Babu.