BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Tuesday opposed his party’s decision to suspend fellow parliamentarian Kirti Azad saying it was not giving a “good message” to people because the “perception” was that he was fighting against corruption and urged the party to revoke it.
In an oblique message to the top party brass, Sinha, who has been critical of their decisions over a host of issues, said if they decided to punish him for mistakes he had not made, then it will remind him of a soothsayer’s prediction that he would change his party once.
“I hope, wish and pray it does not come true,” he said with a laugh.
In an interview to PTI, he called Azad “a worthy son of a worthy father” and also supported the veterans, including L K Advani, who have questioned the leadership following the Bihar debacle.
“I found it very unfortunate that Azad, a worthy son of a worthy father, was suspended in this way. What has the general perception gone out? That he was talking about corruption. This is the perception.
“I feel sad that he was suspended and I appeal to those who matter in the party to revoke his suspension. It is certainly not giving good message, good image to the people,” he said. Azad’s father late Bhagwat Jha Azad was Bihar chief minister.
The cine star-turned-politician added that he respects the decision taken by the party’s parliamentary board but asserted that feeling “sad or happy is not an anti-party activity”.
A reference to the soothsayer’s prediction about his changing his party has been made in his biography, “Anything but khamosh”, published by Om Books International.
It is being released on Wednesday by Advani, whom he called his friend, philosopher, guide, guru and ultimate leader.
Sinha said it was “unfortunate” that he could not meet party chief Amit Shah during Bihar assembly elections despite trying so many times.
“I felt sad for what was happening in Bihar. I was not being called, invited... He being the party president I just hoped and wished he would give me protection. He would call me and talk. It did not happen...”
Asked about his outspoken views that have not gone down well with the party, Sinha said calling spade a spade was his habit and his base was always truth, something he learnt from Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani.
“I have said that BJP to me is the first and last party ever... I am in party with no demand, no command, no complaint and no expectation. I have no personal grudge against anybody,” he said, adding that he had got blessings of Advani, Yashwant Sinha and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Incidentally, these three leader besides Shanta Kumar had attacked the party leadership on Diwali eve following BJP’s big loss in Bihar and met again a couple of weeks ago, a day after Azad was suspended.
Asked about their dissatisfaction, Sinha said they had taken BJP from two seats in the Lok Sabha to 200 seats and they had a right to express their concerns.
“They are thinking in the larger interest of the party,” he said.
Asked about his views of Shah, he said “I hardly know him” and added that he had a more “learning experience and comfort level” during Vajpayee-Advani era.
His biography says that the politics within BJP in 2014 had almost brought him to “breaking point, almost up for grabs to an opposition party”.
He confirms in the book, authored by Bharathi S Pradhan, that “people from AAP approached me” and recounts his personal equations with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
He also takes a veiled dig at Shah in the book while saying that he had predicted with “great confidence” that the party would win with two-thirds majority.
“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...”
Modi government was working in the right direction, he said, adding that the Prime Minister was a symbol of people’s hopes and expectations.