Rebel BJP leader and PM Modi critic Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday formally joined the Congress in presence of Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal and party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
Congress has fielded Sinha as its candidate from Patna Sahib constituency in Bihar against Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Soon after joining the Congress, the actor-turned-politician hit out at the BJP calling it a “one-man show, two-man army where everything happens from the PMO”. He further said the ministers cannot work freely in the government.
He also took a jibe at the BJP for sidelining veteran leaders like LK Advani, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha.
LK Advani was denied ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and replaced by party president Amit Shah in Gandhinagar.
LK Advani along with Murli Manohar Joshi was moved out of the BJP’s highest decision-making body, Parliamentary Board, in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the party to victory and Shah was made its president.
Both veterans were made members of ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ (a group of mentors), a body which has never met.
Shatrughan Sinha further said he was told that since he has been a party critic, he would not be given a cabinet post.
Hitting out Modi government’s demonetisation, Sinha said it was probably the world’s biggest scam.
“Note ban was a mindless decision. Note ban is probably the world’s biggest scam, several people died due to the Modi governments policies,” he said.
He further credited Lalu Prasad Yadav for his decision to join the Congress. “Let me tell you, Lalu Prasad Yadav has been instrumental in my decision to join Congress,” Sinha said.
“I am a little upset that I quit the party formally on BJP’s foundation day. I had said — I won’t leave the party unless the party sacks me. I was given the hint so many times. Maybe I wasn’t told directly..” he added.
Shatrughan Sinha, a two-term BJP Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib Singh was dropped by the saffron party which chose to field union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the seat.
The actor-politician, who served as a Cabinet minister in the NDA ministry of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and was a star campaigner for BJP for a long time before falling out with the current leadership after being ignored in the 2015 Bihar Assembly polls, has been critical of the party functioning, alleging all power is vested in one leader (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and two-men Army (Modi and BJP president Amit Shah).
On 15 March – a day before BJP’s central election committee meeting – Sinha posted a tweet where he hinted that he might no longer be part of the party.
He has also attended anti-BJP rallies called by various opposition parties including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Bihar will see polling in seven phases on all the dates between 11 April and 19 May. The counting will happen on 23 May and the results will be announced on the same day.