Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s elevation as the face of the BJP, and the fading out of party patriarch LK Advani has drawn barbs from actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha.
On Tuesday, Sinha stirred a hornet’s nest, speaking up for Advani and warning the party against neglecting veteran leaders.
His remarks came a day after Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan batted for Advani, indicating that the question on the prime ministerial candidate was still open. Echoing Chouhan, Sinha too pointed out that the question can only be settled by the party’s parliamentary board.
There was nothing veiled about his warning. "I believe LK Advani is the tallest leader, despite the soaring popularity of Modi. Ignoring or sidelining him would not be good for the party's future,” Sinha said. “Advaniji is a statesman. With him around, the party would not be short of allies.”
The party, he said, should take extra care to see that good leaders do not feel slighted or sidelined. “People like Sushma should be at the forefront of the battle. Arun Jaitley is like the Chanakya of the party. I wish Ram Jethmalani, at his age, had been treated better.”
Describing various committees announced last week in which would work under Modi, Sinha said including senior leaders in those were like giving them lollipops. "They are not seen in the larger canvas.”
"These leaders have been in the party since its formation," Sinha said. “If you are not including them, it will be difficult. They can't be sidelined and without their blessings you cannot choose a prime minister."