Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s tweet announcing former Union minister Shatrughan Sinha’s candidature from Asansol Lok Sabha by-election yesterday came as a surprise to many. The famed actor says he too was equally “surprised” when the announcement and is “thankful” to Mamata Banerjee for the opportunity.
In an exclusive telephonic chat to The Statesman, the Bihari Babu said, “I reacted to the news the same way as you did. I did not know it was coming. Yashwant Sinha ji was also trying to reach me and later chided me for not picking up my phone. It was a really sweet gesture and great on her part that she herself tweeted the news, instead of the party coming out with it. I felt very honoured and responded to her tweet last night.”
Mr Sinha, who had attended Mamata’s anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally in 2019 and heaped praises on her, said today over phone from New Delhi, “Mamata is a true mass leader and now a all-India figure. We see India’s political future through her. I’m honoured for her love and special treatment towards me. I know she is fond of me.”
The Bollywood actor-turned-politician said, long back people had approached him to join the Trinamul Congress but he had not taken the offer seriously. “At that time Babul (Supriyo) was the sitting MP from Asansol and with the BJP. I did not want to come in confrontation with him as he too is from the artist fraternity.”
The Antarjali Jatra actor said, “Yashshwant Sinha ji had called me few days back and told me to take the offer as this is a good opportunity. He had told me that a person like me cannot sit outside and should be in Parliament to raise my voice on important issues.” Asansol has close to 52 per cent non-Bengali voters and the town has a strong connect with Bihar.
Mr Sinha is aware of the demography and said, “The whole scenario seems to be very conducive and will be fruitful. People in India know me as Bihari Babu and my all-India persona will help me get the voters support and blessings this time.” The actor is a self-confessed Bengal bhakt. He loves Bengali culture and food. “My weakness is Bengali food and the language.” He still has fold memories of his shoot with Goutam Ghosh for Antarjali Jatra.
“It is one of the many films I’ve done in Bengali. I’m very much connected with Bengal. Ask him about people’s faith in the BJP as the assembly poll results in four states showed, the former saffron party MP said, “Is it faith of the people or selective use of EVM is debatable. Many believe it is the selective use of EVMs. Let’s not talk about that. We shall focus on Asansol and the tigress of Bengal.”
After the results came out in Uttar Pradesh polls, Mamata too had called for forensic examination of the EVMs. As of now the actor, who has given blockbuster hits like Naseeb, Kaala Patthar, Kranti on silver screen now wants to once again hog limelight and make a splash.