Amitabh Bachchan won the Lok Sabha elections from Allahabad in 1984 because of his own charisma and not that of the Congress party, veteran actor and Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan has claimed in a book.
And while Big B's political stint was too short, it once led him to cry inconsolably when his name was dragged into the Bofors gun scandal, Jaya goes on to say in the book Sangharsh Path: Samajwadi Purodha Brijbhushan Tiwari Par Ek Ekagra.
The book is on life, times and politics of socialist Brijbhushan Tiwari who mentored Jaya Bachchan early in her political career. A Lucknow-based journalist Radheykrishna has authored the 324-page book, in which prominent names - including Jaya - have contributed write-ups.
The book also mentions that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had offered Amitabh Lok Sabha ticket for any constituency of his choice in both 2004 and 2009, but he declined. He also declined a subsequent offer for a berth in Rajya Sabha by SP.
Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan
Remembering the day Big B cried, his wife recalls: "One day my father-in-law (late poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan) called him (Amitabh) and asked him if the stories published in papers were true. Amitabh denied them and said they all were baseless. But after returning to his room, he broke down because of a situation where his dad had to ask him to clear the air on the issue."
Jaya, apart from remembering Tiwari and how he mentored her, talks a lot about Amitabh's
bitter-sweet political stint. She said that it was his charisma and not Congress' that led to the defeat of the "unbeatable" Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna on Allahabad Lok Sabha seat in 1984.
She claimed Amitabh's victory against political heavyweight Bahuguna made many senior Congress leaders insecure, as it was no cakewalk to defeat such a stalwart.
She, with apparent pride, says: "Such is his charisma that even today if he contests from any Lok Sabha constituency anywhere in the country, he will win hands down."
Talking about the Bofors scandal, Jaya says that the family's name was dragged and entangled in the case for over two decades despite the fact that they had nothing to do with the scandal. Ultimately, the family stood vindicated when the Sweden police gave it a clean chit.
Giving vivid details about how they suffered, Jaya says that when the family was being attacked from all sides, most of their friends deserted them. Media kept on writing baseless stories about Big B's role in the scandal. Stepping out of home was difficult because of the shame the scandal had caused.
The book mentions that Jaya was allowed to pursue a political career only on the condition that it should not bring any taint or shame to the family.
The book has three sections. The first one is about Brijbhushan Tiwari's life, politics and times; the second comprises a selection of his writings, speeches and interviews; while the third section has write-ups by politicians like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechuri, BJP leader Kalraj Mishra, SP leaders Kiranmoy Nanda, Azam Khan, Jaya Bachchan and others.
"I learnt the A, B, C, D of politics from Brijbhushan Tiwari ji. He was like a father to me and he nurtured me the way a father nurtures a daughter," writes Jaya.
"In Rajya Sabha, I used to sit by his side. I was shocked and very sad when I learnt about his sudden and untimely demise. When I first saw his mortal remains, I lost control over my emotions and broke down uncontrollably. After this, I stopped sitting in the same place in Rajya Sabha and got my seat changed," writes Jaya.
The book claims Jaya's statements were made in writing, in a one-to-one with the author at her residence Ashirwaad in Mumbai on Ganesh visarjan day in 2012 and also over telephone.