Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said he decided to join the Congress because it was a national party in the “true sense”. Besides, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had recommended the same, he told PTI. Sinha is expected to formally join the Congress on April 6.

“Our family friend Lalu Prasad also suggested I go there [to the Congress], Sinha said. “It was done with his permission and in agreement with him.”

Sinha said several parties like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party wanted to rope him in. But he made it clear that he would only contest from the Patna Sahib seat. Sinha claimed he won the Patna Sahib seat in 2014 on his own, and added that this time he may even break his “previous records in terms of victory”. Sinha won the Patna Sahib seat in the 2009 Parliamentary elections as well.

The BJP has fielded Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the seat this time. Sinha said Prasad was like a family friend. “For Ravi Shankar Prasad I can only convey my best wishes,” he added. “After all, the people of Patna will decide. We will accept the verdict.”

The 73-year-old politician said it was painful for him to quit the BJP, but he was disturbed by the way the party treated veterans like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha. The BJP has not fielded Advani and Joshi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Sinha said there was tanashahi (dictatorship) in the BJP now. “There used to be collective decision during Atalji’s time,” Sinha said, according to PTI. “There was democracy in the true sense. But now, there is the case of one-man show and two-man army.”

Sinha praised Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his vision and dynamism. “The way he has taken up issues boldly, he has proved himself and in one year as Congress president he has won three states despite EVMs and many hurdles,” said Sinha. “He is the originator of the most popular slogan – “chowkidar chor hai”.”

The seven-phased Lok Sabha elections will be held between April 11 and May 19, with the votes being counted on May 23. Bihar, which has 40 parliamentary constituencies, will vote in all seven phases on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.