Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday night criticised the different yardsticks for different leaders when it came to choosing the party’s Rajya Sabha nominees and mocked the concept of ‘margdarshak mandal’, to which veterans have been relegated.
Sharing the dais with L K Advani, a member of the margdarshak mandal, at the launch of party MP Shatrughan Sinha’s biography, the former union minister referred to different standards, saying they were akin to "show me the person, I will show you the rule".
With Advani smiling, Sinha also made a sarcastic reference to the "margdarshak mandal", saying it is a "select club" of which he was not a member and that it never meets.
Again dripping with sarcasm, he said people like him who are above 75 years of age are "brain dead" even though "I am strenuously trying to prove that I am not brain dead". He was apparently referring to the decision to not give any ministerial post to those above 75.
Union ministers Harsh Vardhan and V K Singh, suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad besides Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Randeep Surjewala and former MP Amar Singh were among those who attended the event.
Advani offered "apology" to Shatrughan Sinha who in his book has blamed the veteran leader for the party’s decision to not send him to the Rajya Sabha for a third time and instead pitting him as a candidate in the Lok Sabha election in 2009 which he went on to win.
"My own feeling is because at that point of time there was a general practice of sending a person to the Rajya Sabha twice at the most. There are some people who can be identified as saying that in his case it will not be easy for him to win a Lok Sabha (election).
"Because that person is not so familiar with the general people as to be elected just on the basis of a party. This is always one consideration that who is popular and likely to be elected to the Lok Sabha is generally not given a Rajya Sabha ticket. So it applies to everyone," Advani said.
Offering his comments on Advani’s views, Yashwant Sinha said people in the party discussed that such a rule may have been implemented for him (Shatrughan) but would not be for others.
"There are any number of exceptions who have been given any number of term with a vengeance… This is what rankles that it will be denied to me but not to others under similar circumstances," he said.
Some BJP leaders, including union ministers, have been elected to the Rajya Sabha for more than twice.
The former union minister has been sidelined in the party and so has Shatrughan Sinha. Advani too is said to be unhappy with the party over leadership issues.
The entire political system, Yashwant Sinha (83) said, has to take a lesson in consistency, honesty and transparency.
He also criticised the party’s decision to ignore Shatrughan Sinha and him during its campaign for Bihar assembly polls, saying even if they had convinced only 10 and two people to vote for it, that would have been an addition.
"People had and have tremendous affection for Shatrughan," he said, adding that from being a "star campaigner" he was reduced to being a non-campaigner this time.
Shatrughan Sinha said some people believed that BJP lost badly in Bihar for ignoring him but added that "let bygones be bygones and people should look ahead".
Shatrughan Sinha was joined by his family members, including his filmstar daughter Sonakshi, at the launch of his biography, "Anything but khamosh", published by Om Books International.
He said the idea behind the book was to "inspire" the youth that if somebody like him from a town like Patna can make it big in film industry and politics without any "godfather", then so can they.