The mood in the BJP camp was understandably downcast after the serious drubbing in Bihar at the hands of the Grand Alliance (GA). But at least one party leader – actor-turned-MP Shatrughan Sinha – was all smiles.
On Monday afternoon, Sinha went to the residences of chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad to congratulate them.
“It is just a friendly visit, nothing political and no one should try to measure personal relations as political ties. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sushil Modi wished him. Don’t take my friendship with Nitish otherwise and I must insist that there is no agenda to my meeting,” Sinha said after coming out of the chief minister’s residence.
He also praised Kumar and said that Bihar had elected a “tested and successful chief minister”.
Soon after the results, Sinha wished “great luck to our victorious friends” while reiterating that the writing was always on the wall. He had brief chats with the two leaders and met Prasad’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi.
Sinha took to Twitter before leaving to congratulate his friends. “Lessons learnt... hopefully. Time to forgive, forget & work towards a better future with passion, dedication, teamwork, humility, commitment,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Lessons learnt...hopefully. Time to forgive, forget & work towards a better future with passion, dedication, teamwork, humility, commitment.— Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) November 9, 2015
“Life goes on... Chhoro kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani naye dhang se likhenge hum mil kar nayi kahani, hum Hindustani... Jai Bihar, Jai Bharat (Forget what happened earlier. There is a need now to script a new story in a new way),” he added.
Even at the peak of electioneering, Sinha had called on Kumar at his residence soon after a rally by the prime minister. It had created a flutter in the BJP but Sinha had termed it as “just a meeting” with his friend.
He also did not turn up at any of the pre-election rallies of the prime minister. When asked, he had a stock reply: “I attend a function only when invited.”
One of Sinha’s officials said maintaining friendship “no matter what” was his strength, and that his visits to Kumar and Rabri Devi were personal.
But BJP is still not ready to lend much importance to Sinha, once the star campaigner for the party, and maintained that he had no role in the party’s debacle.
“What is the base of Shatrughan Sinha? In spite of his objection, the BJP won all the seats in his constituency,” said Hukumdev Yadav, BJP MP from Madhubani where the party suffered a massive setback this election.
Shatrughan, he said, has a habit of saying all kinds of things. “He cannot alter the course for BJP.”