Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday openly criticised his party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, over demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax and the environment of intolerance, PTI reported.

“If vakeel babu [Mr Lawyer] can speak on finance, if a TV actress can become the country’s HRD minister and if a chaiwala [tea seller] can become...I won’t even complete that sentence...why can’t I speak about the economy?” Sinha said during a book launch in New Delhi, according to The Times of India.

Sinha’s remarks targeting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Smiti Irani, who was the human resources development minister, and Modi, come just days after the Congress was criticised for a social media post by an online magazine run by its youth wing that made fun of Modi’s beginnings as a tea seller.

The actor-turned-politician said the atmosphere in the country is such that people have to either support “a person” or risk being called “anti-national”.

“Intellectuals are being killed, and now, even judges are being killed,” he said, adding that such subjects were not getting attention in the media as “dhantantra” (money power) was getting the better of “jantantra” (people’s power), the PTI report said.

The 71-year-old MP from Patna Sahib rubbished claims that he was upset about not being made a minister, saying he never had any such expectations. He called all of Modi’s ministers a “bunch of sycophants, 90% of whom were hardly known to people”. “They are here not to do something creative or constructive...they are just busy saving their jobs,” he said.