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Shatrughan Sinha on Being BJP’s Star Campaigner and Narendra Modi

Excerpts from Shatrughan Sinha’s biography where he talks politics

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Shatrughan Sinha with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani (Photo courtesy: Om Books International)

Excerpts from Shatrughan Sinha’s biography Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography, by Bharathi S Pradhan, in which the actor and politician talks about being BJP’s star campaigner and his equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Being BJP’s Star Campaigner

Shatrughan Sinha with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani (Photo courtesy: Om Books International)
Shatrughan Sinha with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani (Photo courtesy: Om Books International)

“The crowds came to see as well as to hear me. So it was not just star power but oratory skills too. Yes, I campaigned for the same Uma Bharti who was expelled from the BJP, against whom action was taken by the party, and who has now asked that action be taken against Shatrughan Sinha,” snorted SS.

“The same Uma Bharti used to say even to Atalji, ‘I couldn’t have won this election without Shatru bhaiya.’ I addressed five meetings in a day for her, I campaigned an entire day for her.” It was an instance of how equations had changed between then and now.

But the popularity had come at a price even then.

“One instance of ours becoming a party with differences showed up when my own party workers tried to drive a wedge between Atalji and me,” he said regretfully. “At Gandhi Maidan in Patna, I was purposely taken to the venue at the wrong time when Atalji was still speaking. When I reached, the crowds went so berserk that Atalji had to stop speaking. It was no fault of mine. I would never dream of upstaging him. But he was very gracious as he said, ‘Main jaanta hoon, yeh bheed Bihari Babu ke liye hai (I understand that this crowd has turned up for the Bihari Babu).’ He added with his great sense of humour, ‘Lekin Bihari Babu jaante hai ki yeh bheed Atal Bihari ke liye hai. Ye Bihari Babu hai toh main bhi Atal Bihari hoon (But Bihari Babu knows that this crowd is for Atal Bihari. If he’s Bihari Babu, I’m Atal Bihari).’

“People within the party were so jealous that it was self-defeating.”

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On Narendra Modi

Shatrughan Sinha meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with wife Poonam and daughter Sonakshi (Photo courtesy: Twitter)
Shatrughan Sinha meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with wife Poonam and daughter Sonakshi (Photo courtesy: Twitter)

There seemed to be an easy lapse in the elephantine memory because before 2014, SS himself had not hailed Narendra Modi as prime ministerial material.

The politician in him, however, claimed otherwise.

“I was the first one to put forward his name as a potential Prime Minister and Yashwantji had seconded it,” he resolutely asserted. “But,” he explained, “other people felt that he was controversial. They told me that people take note of what you say and alliances are breaking. So don’t take Modi’s name as Prime Minister.”

Shatrughan Sinha on Being BJP’s Star Campaigner and Narendra Modi

If the perception persisted that before Modi was officially declared the BJP’s candidate for the top job, SS had not enthusiastically thrown his lot behind him, he clarified, “I always said that Advaniji was our marg darshak, our guide. I said that along with youth power, you also need experience. I always maintained that our party had many able, suitable, mature and very committed leaders like Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh. Acknowledging the proficiency and ability of our leaders did not mean that I did not applaud Narendra Modi’s strengths and suitability as well. On the contrary, I’d say that having so many gifted and accomplished leaders was a matter of pride for our party and gave unique strength to the BJP. “In fact,” he attested, “‘Namo’ was a title that I gave Narendra Modi in Patna. I called Sushil Modi ‘Sumo’ and Narendra Modi ‘Namo’. The names went viral. I also titled him Action Hero because I believed he was and is a man who believes in action.”

Extracted with permission from Om Books International

Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography

Bharathi S Pradhan

Foreword: Shashi Tharoor
Pages 338
Price: Rs 595
Published by Om Books International

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