Ramnagar (Ukhand): Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha today said he had to “pay a price” for his honesty in both his political and acting career.
Recalling his short stint as the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Sinha said, “I started an anti-tobacco campaign when I was the Health minister. I do not know whether it is true, but people say that I was shunted from health to shipping because the tobacco lobby was against me.”
The BJP MP from Bihar was speaking at the ongoing Kumaon Literary Festival here.
“No allegations have come up against me (in my political life) and sometimes for that, you may have to pay a price. When you are honest, you end up locking the ways of people near you. They then pull you down,” he said.
Sinha said that he has had to pay a similar price in his eventful acting career.
The outspoken parliamentarian said his biggest regret was starting his political career with a by-election opposite Bollywood actor Rajesh Khanna, on the orders of senior BJP leader L K Advani.
Sinha said he not only lost the election, but also a friend in Khanna.
“My biggest political regret has been to start my political career with a by-election, of course on the orders of my friend, philosopher, guide and guru, L K advani. I could not say no to him. He insisted that I fight.
“I fought, and that too against my very dear friend late, the great Rajesh Khanna. And I lost, or was maybe made to lose…That is a different story altogether,” the actor said.
He said Khanna had stopped talking to him after the polls, which left the ‘Khamosh’ actor hurt.
“He had stopped talking to me and I was very hurt about it. I had apologised,” he said.
The 70-year-old actor said that he wanted to break the ice between him and the veteran actor when the latter was battling for life, but nothing materialised.
“When I was in the hospital for a bypass surgery 2 years ago, Rajesh Khanna was battling for life..I told my daughter that I would go and apologise to him again…Unfortunately I could not make it,” he said.