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Contesting against Rajesh Khanna biggest regret, losers in Modi cabinet: Shotgun Sinha
Tuesday January 5, 2016 10:59 PM, IANS

New Delhi:
Disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has lamented the entry of "Johnnies-come-lately" and those who lost the Lok Sabha polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government while seniors were ignored.

Sinha, actor-turned politician, also said that contesting elections against Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna was his biggest regret and he had apologised to him too.

He however made it clear in his biography "Anything But Khamosh" (Om Books International) that the Bharatiya Janata Party would perhaps be his last political party.

The book is critical of both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, particularly in the context of the BJP's defeats in Delhi and Bihar after the sweeping 2014 Lok Sabha election.

"Not only Johnnies-come-lately but also some who had lost the Lok Sabha elections, perhaps humiliatingly, were rewarded with not one but two and three ministerial posts, marginalising those who'd won with a record margin," Sinha said in the book, written by renowned journalist Bharathi S. Pradhan.

The book takes no names but two prominent BJP leaders who got into the Modi cabinet despite losing the Lok Sabha battle were Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani.

The book will be launched here on Wednesday in the presence of BJP veterans L.K. Advani and Yashwant Sinha as well as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Shatrughan Sinha also reacted to Amit Shah's reported hints that the BJP might take act against him.

"I didn't know my people were so helpless that they had to wait for an election to take action. That too against a man who had won with a vote share percentage of more than 55 percent which even our prime minister and Kejriwal didn't reach."

He said he could contest as an independent and had the support of many, ranging from Nitish Kumar to Lalu Prasad to Rahul Gandhi. "I have friends everywhere.

"That's why I had made the statement: 'Those who want to take action against me must remember Newton's third law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction'."

He said Amit Shah had boasted that the BJP would win with two-third majority in Bihar. "Perhaps it had become a habit with him because he had said the same thing in Delhi also. But ultimately we got only two or three seats (out of 70) there instead of two-third."

Sinha also took on Bihar BJP leaders.

"Right from state president Mangal Pandey to Sushil Kumar Modi to Rajiv Pratap Rudy to Shahnawaz Hussain, anybody and everybody, repeated his words like parrots with full zeal, enthusiasm and over confidence."

"The party was hijacked by some people in Bihar who conveniently played deaf-mute. They were not ready to listen to me or to speak to me. That's how they created an impression which the opposition seized an opportunity and the 'Bihari versus Bahari' slogan was coined."

But Sinha said he was unlikely to join any other party.

"I've always said, BJP is my first and perhaps my last party. Once a friend, always a friend. 'Ladte jhagadte hain' (we fight) but we remain family."

"A member's equation with the party is like the relationship between a husband and wife."

Shatrughan said of the BJP: "From being called a party with a difference, we began to be called a party with differences."

Sinha while stating that contesting elections against Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna was his biggest regret said that he had apologised to him too.

"If there is one regret that I have in politics, it is that I was made to fight Rajesh Khanna from Delhi in 1991," Sinha revealed in his biography "Anything But Khamosh" slated to be released on Wednesday.

Sinha revealed that losing the electoral battle was one of his rare moments of dejection and he had apologised to Khanna.

"For this, in his lifetime, I had apologised to Rajesh Khanna both directly and indirectly. Under no circumstances should I have started my active political career with a bye-election. But I couldn't say no to (L.K.) Advani ji, who was my guide, guru and ultimate leader," Sinha said in the book.

Advani, who had contested and won the 1991 elections from Gandhinagar and New Delhi, had opted for his seat in Gujarat.

In the bye-election that followed for the Delhi seat, then political novice Sinha was brought in by the BJP to counter the Congress candidate Rajesh Khanna.

Sinha insisted that he joined the party and fought the bye-election "Only because of the persuasion of Kalyan Singh, Shanta Kumar, Madan Lal Khurana and other party leaders.

"I had initially resisted all their overtures but I was finally taken before Advani ji, and he had said, 'It's a question of our prestige and I don't want to hear a 'No' from you this time."

"When I lost that election, it was one of my rare moments of dejection," he said.

"It was the one time I really cried. I also felt very let down because Advani ji had not come even for one day to campaign for me."

Terming his debut electoral loss a "misstep", Sinha revealed that it was a terrible time for him.

"Politics showed its ugly profile in many ways. After I lost that election, I was so sharply sidelined that I would be made to feel distinctly unwelcome at our party office on Ashoka Road. People would stop talking when I entered, or change the topic and make me uncomfortable.

"One day, a party official who is still with the BJP, came up and told me, 'Shatruji, please sit outside. We'll call you when we're ready to talk to you'," he remembered.

"That went straight to my heart and hurt me so badly, that for years, I never visited the office," he added.



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