Mumbai: Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, whohas been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah,is keeping the cards close to his chest about whether he would join theRashtriya Janata Dal and contest the coming Lok Sabha elections on its ticket.
“I’vebeen advised by my family to not make any official announcement till January14. The time is not right until then. But my closeness to and fondness forLaluji and his family is no secret. As far as contesting the 2019 electionsgoes, my constituency will always be Bihar. Once a Bihari Babu always a BihariBabu,” he said. He was replying to a question whether he was officiallyjoining hands with the jailed RJD leader Lalu Prasad, whom he met in prison inRanchi recently. Sinha, who has been attacking his party too, said BJP waspractising politics of vendetta on him.
Excerpts fromthe interview:
Q. Shatruji, what is this about the VIP treatmentbeing withdrawn at airports for you?
A. It is nothing but the politics ofvendetta being followed by the honourablePrime Minister’s dedicated soldiers who think he will be pleased with suchmalicious attempts to pull me down.
Q. But why give such privileges in the first place?
A. I wasn’t given the so-called VIP treatment tomake me feel important. It is for health reasons that I am driven directly tothe flight. Otherwise I am happy to mingle with the janata. I’ve been as close to them all my life as possible. I’d happy to travel economyclass.
Q. Then why the VIP treatment?
A. Like I said it’s for health reasons. After myheart operation, I was advised not to exert myself. After the leg operationI’ve been forbidden from walking long stretches.
Q. The reason being given for the withdrawal of the privilege is one of security?
A. The entire airport authority escorts me to theaircraft, and suddenly I am a security threat? Is this some kind of a joke? AsI said this is merely vendetta politics.
Q. Do you think it’s to do with your joining hands with Lalu Yadav?
A. Of course it is! They first withdrew the privilege, as you call it, from Laluji and now me. And mindyou other politicians like Ram Vilas Paswan have been given the VIP privilegeat the airport. Why am I being singledout for this treatment?
Q. You tell me?
A. Nowadays you have to make friends with the friends of those in power. Some of my colleagues fromthe film industry are very good at doingthat. I can’t pretend to like my political compatriots if I don’t like them. Nor can I pretend not to likethose whom I am close to.