New Delhi: Barely days after a Youth Congress magazine published a meme calling Narendra Modi a “chaiwala” (tea vendor), BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday yet again invoked the jibe against the Prime Minister.
Taking potshots at his detractors within his own party, the famous Bollywood actor wondered if others can do whatever they are doing despite not being specialists, why can he not speak on economy.
He said he is repeatedly questioned by few people as to what qualification he has to speak on economy as he comes from a film background.
“If ‘vakeel babu’ (an allusion to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) can speak on finance, if a TV actress can become the country’s HRD minister and if a chaiwala can become… I wouldn’t say any further… why can’t I speak on economy,” Sinha said in snide remarks at book launch here.
Modi has himself said that he used to sell tea along with his father at their small tea stall in Gujarat before he joined politics.
Taking potshots at Modi, Sinha said he had been drawn towards “healthy politics” inspired by Ram Manohar Lohia, and that he had no intentions of becoming a minister.
“I am speaking from my heart though it is not mann ki baat because someone else has a patent for ‘Mann ki Baat’ (as Modi’s monthly radio programme is called),” he said amid laughter.
“Some people say I speak against my own government’s policies because I was not made a minister. To be honest I neither have any desire nor any expectations to become a minister. Even those who are ministers today have no standing of their own. They are busy flattering the master to save their skins and seats.”
“I was drawn towards a healthy politics inspired by Lohia. I had not come to politics with the motto of ‘Na jiyunga na jeene dunga’ (I would neither live in peace myself, nor let others live in peace),” Sinha said in a clear parody to Prime Minister Modi’s oft repeated “Na khaoonga na khane doonga” (I will neither take bribe nor let others do) remark.
He said that the atmosphere in the country was such that “either you are with me or you are anti-national”.
“What is happening in this country? Cow vigilantes are killing people, intellectuals, writers, journalists… and now even judges are being killed. ‘Aaj dhan shakti jan shakti par bhari hai’ (Today, money power is stronger than people’s power). And then if people like me come forward, we are attributed motives, we are questioned.”
Sinha said that demonetisation has rendered millions jobless, factories have been shut, small traders, hawkers are out of work and GST is like “neem chadha karela” (bitter gourd is doubly bitter now).
“If I do not speak for the youth, for the poor and downtrodden, for the oppressed, then what am I doing in politics?” he asked.