With exactly 20 days to go, when the candidates for Patna Saheb Lok Sabha seat, would through the ultimate litmus test, ‘Shaker’ Suman landed in Patna on Monday to rock the boat of hitherto invincible looking BJP candidate ‘Shotgun’ Sinha.
Wearing his determination, to give ‘shatru’ a run for his money, on his sleeve, Shekhar Suman said ‘on a personal basis, he is a respected man. But, I am here to give a real fight in the ‘clash of ideologies’. It’s time for the people to weigh Sinha’s tenure as Health Minister and his role in taking up the cause of Biharis in Maharashtra.’
Would he do a Pol Khol on Shotgun, Shekhar said ‘ab janata bolegi (the people would do the talking now).’ Those in power have not done their jobs well. Now is the time for making an assessment.
‘I, for one, believe that five years is too long a time. If a public representative or a government fails to show signs of development in two years, they should be replaced,’ he said.
‘And if I fail to start showing signs of progress on my priority for building a heart hospital for children, setting up a studio, acting school and improvement in basic amenities in two years, I would quit on my own,’ said Shekhar in a firm but polite tone.
As for the decision to take a plunge in politics, he said that he wanted to set up a hospital in the memory of his son and as a tribute to his father. ‘But despite my best efforts I failed to get land or make any progress. It is then I realised that it was absolutely necessary to have political standing to translate your commitment into action,’ he explained.
Shekhar, who formally joined Congress at Sadaquat Ashram on Monday, said ‘I was clear that if I were to join politics, it had to be the Congress.’ The reason: Its programmes and policies are very close to my heart. Moreover, ‘it is the only national, secular and progressive party’, he said adding ‘there were other offers, but I have always been passionate about the party.’
CWC member and in-charge Iqbal Singh, who was present at the venue, said ‘it is Shekhar’s commitment to the cause of development of both urban and rural areas of the constituency that sets him apart. I hope he would be able to work for changing the face of the city to provide it a distinct look by utilizing his good rapport with top leaders of the country and his own resources.’
The Patna Saheb nominee took a question on the requisite ‘experience’ to face the rough and tumble of politics in his stride saying ‘I am facing this question once again, after 20-25 years, when I had been struggling in Bombay. I proved myself there and would do so in politics too. My association with my own people would be my strength.’
In his true no nonsense and inimitable style, Shekhar agreed that he had praised Nitish Kumar some years ago as a good individual. “But I have serious differences with him on the basis of his policies,” he said.
On his opinion on Narendra Modi, he said ‘I have no opinion about him. My opinion is always reserved for good people, like Sonia Gandhi.’
Whether this newfound love for the Congress would end in celebration for the Utsaav star, only time will tell. But, the Patna Saheb seat is poised for an interesting and intense clash of two titans of the celluloid world.