Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha officially joined the Indian National Congress on Saturday at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi. Soon after he joined the party, Congress announced that Sinha was being fielded from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar. The Bharatiya Janata Party had denied ticket from Patna Sahib to Sinha, a two-term MP from that seat.
Sinha’s induction coincided with the BJP’s 39th Founder’s Day celebrations. He took aim at his former party, calling it a “one-man show, two-man army” that was functioning as an autocracy. The comment was seemingly a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
“Everything happens from Prime Minister’s Office [in the BJP], Sinha said at the press conference following his induction. “The ministers can’t work freely anyway. We saw how, slowly but surely, democracy turned into autocracy.”
He criticised the BJP party for sidelining party veterans LK Advani, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha. Calling the BJP’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016 “possibly the world’s biggest scam”, he said “I have always spoken for the well-being of our youth and farmers. When I opposed demonetisation, I was called a rebel. If speaking the truth is rebellion, then yes, I’m a rebel.”
Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal, MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala and Shaktisinh Gohil were also present at the event.
When asked if his wife Poonam Singh would contest against BJP Union minister Rajnath Singh in the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh, Sinha said that anything is possible, reported ANI. According to reports, Poonam Singh is likely to contest the seat on a Samajwadi Party ticket. The Samajwadi Party has tied up with the Bahujan Samaj Party in the state.
When asked about his earlier praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “I used to call him dashing and dynamic, for his 56-inch chest. Today, Rahul Gandhi is the face of the nation and future of the nation.”
Earlier in the day, Sinha tweeted that he was leaving his party “with a heavy heart” and “for reasons best known to all of us”.
Sinha had served as a Union Minister in BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet from 2002-’04. After his relationship with the party started souring, he confirmed that he was joining the Congress soon.
Bihar votes in all seven phases of the General Elections that will be held from April 11 to May 19.