Shatrughan Sinha preps for exit from BJP, takes sharp swipe at PM Modi

Disgruntled BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha is yet to reveal the party he will contest the Lok Sabha election from. But it is likely to be a fight between Sinha and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the Patna Sahib seat.
Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha may be facing Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at his Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in the parliamentary polls on May 19.(PTI)
Lok Sabha MP Shatrughan Sinha may be facing Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at his Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in the parliamentary polls on May 19.(PTI)
Updated on Mar 20, 2019 07:29 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

It is likely going to be a fight between the sitting BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the Patna Sahib parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha election on May 19 in the last phase of the national polls. Prasad is expected to get a BJP nomination for the Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat. However, it is not yet clear which party Sinha will represent in the Lok Sabha polls.

Sinha had last week said that he would reveal on March 22, a day after Holi festival, that which party he would contest from in the Lok Sabha election. Sinha has been critical of the BJP and the Narendra Modi government, and openly aligned with the opposition parties in the last couple of years.

In the latest instance, Sinha took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio address to the security guards from across the country on the eve of Holi, the festival of colours. “Sir! Please address the the problems long overdue instead of addressing the Chowkidars. Let’s all play Holi rather than “Rafale Chor and Chowkidar,” Sinha wrote on Twitter.

The Patna Sahib MP had participated in two of the mega rallies organised by the opposition camp in Kolkata (January 19) and New Delhi (February 13). In both the rallies, Sinha had targeted the Modi government over Rafale deal.

The disgruntled BJP MP has often referred to his proximity to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who is serving a jail term in connection with one of the fodder scam cases. The RJD and the Congress are part of the opposition alliance in Bihar. The two parties are, however, yet to arrive at a seat sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha polls.

“Mahagathbandhan (grand-alliance) is intact. Seats and constituencies will be announced after Holi. There is nothing to worry. All is fine in the alliance,” news agency ANI quoted RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, the younger son of Lalu Prasad, as saying on Wednesday.

Yadav’s comment goes in sync with Sinha’s statement where he talked about revealing his candidature for the Lok Sabha polls. Sinha has, meanwhile, stated it on a couple of occasions that he would contest from the Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency.

There is speculation that Sinha may seek re-election from his Patna Sahib constituency as the RJD candidate.

Sinha is a two-time sitting MP from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat. In 2014, he defeated Gopal Prasad Sinha of the Janata Dal-United, the alliance partner of the BJP in Bihar. In 2009, the actor-turned-politician had won this seat after defeating television personality Shekhar Suman, who contested on the Congress party’s ticket.

The Bihari Babu, as Sinha is popularly known, was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. He held the portfolios of health and shipping ministry during his stint as a Union minister in the government. Sinha was then a member of the Rajya Sabha, where he served for two consecutive terms between 1996 and 2008.

He is set to face a challenge from his former Union cabinet colleague Ravi Shankar Prasad, the senior BJP leader. Both were part of the Vajpayee government till 2004. Both the leaders are considered as the protégés of BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani.

Though, the official list of the BJP candidates has not been released. But it is likely that Prasad will seek his first election to the Lok Sabha from the Patna Sahib seat. Prasad is the Union minister for Law and justice, and information technology.

Prasad shot to fame during 1990s as a lawyer, who filed a public interest litigation against Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam case. His father, Thakur Prasad was a minister in the Karpoori Thakur government of Bihar during 1970s. He has been a Rajya Sabha MP since 2000. Prasad was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the third term in 2012.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2022