By Subhash K. Jha (15:22)
Mumbai, Jan 21 (IANS) Unfazed by threats of action by the BJP, dissident MP Shatrughan Sinha says his sympathies are with the opposition and that he will quit his party the day the high command demands.
He even says that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is the perfect candidate for the Prime Minister’s post. But the issue will be sorted once the general elections are over.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. There is a lot of speculation about your political future. Would it be correct to say you are done with the BJP? Does Sushil Modi seem to think so?
A. Who is this Modi? I only know one Modi in the BJP. The real action hero, our Prime Minister, the honourable Narendra Modiji. Who are these small fries to tell me what to do? Tell them to please find some other way to get publicity rather than by using my name. As for leaving the party, let the high command say it. I will leave at once.
Q. At a rally that you attended with Mamata Banerjee, you all but declared her the next Prime Minister?
A. She is certainly the perfect fit for the job. Look at her struggles and sacrifices for her state. She has risen from the grassroots and she cares for the poor and the underdogs. Inaction has driven our current Prime Minister away from the masses. The people are angry. They feel let down.
Q. So you see Mamta Banerjee as the next Prime Minister?
A. Yes, why not? Lekin abhi Dilli dur hai. We need to focus on the current political crisis in our country, which is what the gathbandhan (opposition alliance) is trying to do.
Q. You are being criticized by the BJP for not announcing your candidate for Prime Minister?
A. There are states where the candidate for Chief Minister has not been announced by them. As the great Sohrab Modi said in the film ‘Yahudi’: Tumhara khoon, khoon hamara khoon, paani? Woh karen toh raas leela hum Karen toh character dheela (When they do it, it is great, when we do it, it is immoral)? This politics of double standards has brought the country to the brink of disaster.
Q. So do you admit you don’t have a Prime Ministerial candidate?
A. On the contrary, we have several potential Prime Ministers in our ranks whereas they have only one face and only one candidate.
Q. So who are the political players you are planning to align yourself with and are we going to hear of a new political party from you?
A. Let the holy festival of Basant Panchami arrive. Everything will be clear. In the meanwhile, everyone can see who my political allies are — be it Mamata Banerjee or Arvind Kejriwal. These are people with whom I share a mutual respect. For any political alliance to work, there should be respect within the ranks.