Patna Saheb MP and BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha posted a series of tweets on Saturday, seemingly questioning NDA’s prospects of winning the ongoing Bihar assembly polls, seen as critical for reinforcing PM Narendra Modi’s authority.
“Hope, wish and pray that despite some teething troubles and electoral problems, we do as well as we expected in the Bihar elections,” tweeted Sinha, who has been miffed for quite some time at being ‘ignored’ by the BJP leadership.
This was followed by two more tweets in quick succession: “Though some local dictatorial leaders in Bihar are solely responsible for creating the mess and an undesirable situation in Bihar….”
Hope, wish and pray that despite some teething troubles and electoral problems, we do as well as we expected in the Bihar elections.— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) October 17, 2015
“A situation that led our star campaigner PM to cancel his Bihar rallies at the last minute...sending a negative message???”
Sources in the BJP said the party leadership was taken aback by the three “untimely” tweets, which came on the back of three more “embarrassing” tweets Sinha had posted on Friday.
In one of his tweets on Friday, the Patna Saheb MP had warned of the damage potential of skyrocketing lentil prices -- an issue on which the Congress-led opposition has been targeting the Modi government.
In an intensely fought election that the BJP seems desperate to win, Sinha’s tweets clearly riled the party.
“The claim (of anti-BJP parties) that PM Modi was slated to address a series of rallies which were cancelled, is a canard,” said BJP state vice-president Sanjay Mayukh, the only party leader who could be reached for a reaction.
“The question of cancellation of PM’s rallies does not arise as no rally of the PM was scheduled in the first place (on the dates suggested)”, said Mayukh, who was once a member of actor Sinha’s fan club.
“The tweets (of Shatrughan Sinha) represent his personal views and does not articulate the BJP’s position,” Mayukh told HT.
Sinha’s latest tweet appeared to endorse media reports suggesting PM Modi was to address rallies at Buxar, Paliganj and Vaishali on Friday (October 16), in areas that head to polls in the third phase.
A situation that led our star campaigner PM to cancel his Bihar rallies at the last minute...sending a negative message???— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) October 17, 2015
The JD(U), RJD and Congress have attributed the alleged ‘cancellation’ of the rallies to “good polling in favour of secular alliance” in the first two phases of voting but the BJP had rubbished the claim.
Sinha was in the eye of a storm in July when he met and publically praised BJP’s arch rival, chief minister Nitish Kumar, just after PM Modi had hit out at the CM at his rally in north Bihar district headquarters town of Muzaffarpur.
On Friday, the actor-politician had tweeted: “Dal prices touch Rs 200. Urgent steps required by Centre to contain this! We have seen the tears that onion prices have brought in the past.”
Moments before that, Sinha had posted a tweet saying: “I pray that the election results are also in favour of those that will propel our Bihar on the road of true progress,” leaving his fellow twitterati in suspense as to who he had in his mind.
A simultaneous tweet from him was as difficult to read: “This is a festival that celebrates the victory of Good over Evil, Right over Wrong, Truth over Falsehood and Humility over Arrogance.”
Sinha could not be reached for comment.
But the Patna Saheb MP’s close friend, former BJP MLA Binod Yadav said: “He has expressed his genuine concern about the countrymen at large and the people of Bihar in particular.”
Another close friend of Sinha said that although he had been included in the list of the BJP’s star campaigners, he was denied the opportunity to campaign even in constituencies in which the candidate had requested his presence.
“A case in point is Surajgarha, where the sitting BJP MLA and candidate Prem Ranjan Patel wanted Sinha to campaign for him but the party leadership did not approve such a schedule,” the friend told HT.