New Delhi: Cine star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday formally joined the Congress and was declared the party’s candidate for the coming Lok Sabha elections from Patna Sahib where he will take on Union minister and former BJP colleague, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The 72-year-old actor-turned-politician said he left the BJP on its foundation day, Saturday, with “immense pain and heavy heart”, but added, “If speaking the truth is rebellion, then I am rebel.”
While wpeaking to the media at the Congress headquarters here, Mr Sinha attacked his former party BJP terming it a “one-man show and two-men army”.
“In the one-man show, two-man army, everything happens from Prime Minister’s Office... the ministers can’t work freely anyway,” he said.
Taking a jibe at the BJP over the snub to veteran leader L.K. Advani, Mr Sinha said, “Advaniji was sent to Mardarshak Mandal which hasn’t held even a single meeting so far. They did the same to Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha... I was even told that I have been a critic and that I will not be given a Cabinet post... but my image has been clean.”
Flanked by senior Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala, K.C. Venugopal and the party’s Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil, Mr Sinha praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi saying he was a dynamic, “tried, tested and successful” leader and the face and future of India.
The former actor had been at loggerheads with the BJP for quiet some time. Over the last few months he had put out several tweets critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the NDA government. In an apparent reference to Mr Modi, the then BJP MP had said, “People have called your bluff and understood your hollow promises. You have been exposed”.
Mr Sinha termed demonetisation as “probably the world’s biggest scam… It was a mindless decision... Several people died and we were told it was normal”.
In an association that had been souring for years, the proverbial last straw was the BJP snubbing Mr Sinha and naming Mr Prasad for his Patna Sahib constituency.
Mr Sinha is the sitting MP from Bihar’s Patna Sahib, a seat he won in 2009 and 2014.
Praising the Congress’ proposed Nyuntam Aay Yojna (Nyay) scheme, Mr Sinha said the country has not seen such a scheme ever.
“I am hopeful that the Grand Old National Party which I’m stepping into, will provide me with opportunities to serve our people, society and nation in terms of unity, prosperity, progress, development and glory,” he tweeted.
In January, Mr Sinha attended the rally hosted by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata as a representative of the Rashtra Manch, a political action group launched by former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
“My elder brother Yashwant Sinha was saying that after this I will be definitely removed from the party, I told him koi baat nahi hai (no problem),” he said at the rally attended by several Opposition leaders.