More quotes tumble out from Shatrughan Sinha's newly launched book Anything But Khamosh after the launch function itself served as a platform for BJP dissidents to hit out at Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, especially on the Bihar hammering.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has come in for high praise in Sinha's book. "I would credit Arvind Kejriwal with showing rare courage in fighting only one seat and that too against a heavyweight like Sheila Dikshit,” he says.
Sinha says people from the AAP had approached him in 2014, a time when there was a long suspense on whether he would get the BJP ticket from Patna Sahib.
Sinha claims he is good friends with Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and Lalu Prasad of the RJD. He says that “Johnnies-come-lately” have become Ministers in the Modi government.
Sinha also says that he is the one who coined the ‘Namo’ abbreviation for Narendra Modi.
Sinha alleges a conspiracy within the party in 2014 to deny him a Lok Sabha ticket from Patna Sahib, which he eventually contested and won by a huge margin. “The dirty tricks department tried to keep me away from the electoral fray.”
Sinha also trains his guns on Sushil Modi. “Sushil Modi contributed much to the growth of the party in Bihar… But later I learnt about the other side of Sushil Modi. I am told that till the end, he strongly opposed me and fought against my getting the ticket from Patna,” he says. “My popularity and clean image… made him very insecure, although I have always maintained that I am not interested in being Chief Minister of Bihar,” says Sinha.
On BJP party president, Sinha has this to say: “Amit Shah, our party president, had predicted with great confidence that we would win with 2/3rd majority,” he says. “Perhaps it has become a habit with him because he had said the same thing in Delhi also. But ultimately we got only two or three seats there instead of 2/3rd… Right from state president Mangal Pandey to Sushil Kumar Modi to Rajiv Pratap Rudy to Shahnawaz Hussain, anybody and everybody, repeated his words like parrots with full zeal, enthusiasm and overconfidence.”
The Indian Express has published the following excerpts from the book:
“I also cautioned my party that mehengai, rising prices will be an issue. We’d already shed tears and lost an election over onion prices in the past. So I cautioned them to control the prices of essentials like dal and vegetables or pay the price. And we did end up paying the price for it”
“The party was hijacked by some people in Bihar who conveniently played deaf-mute. They were not ready to listen to (me) or to speak (to me). That’s how they created an impression which the Opposition seized as an opportunity and the Bihari versus Bahari (outsider) slogan was coined. People from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand were brought in hordes and packed into Bihar, bhar diya gaya, as if the party hadn’t learnt a lesson from the Delhi debacle at the hands of Kejriwal.”
“Certain local forces also joined hands with the baharis to settle scores with me once and for all. But thanks to my strategy, my tweets and the media, it boomeranged on them. Like our friend Lalu Prasad bounced back from the opposition, which was an eye opener to the country, I also bounced back because I was on the side of the truth. I was doing things honestly and with transparency.”
“The crowds came to see as well as to hear me. So it was not just star power, but oratory skills too. Yes, I campaigned for the same Uma Bharti who was expelled from the BJP, against whom action was taken by the party and who has now asked that action be taken against Shatrughan Sinha.”
"Contesting against Rajesh Khanna rankles"
Sinha has said that contesting elections against Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna was his biggest regret and he had apologised to him too.
"If there is one regret that I have in politics, it is that I was made to fight Rajesh Khanna from Delhi in 1991," Sinha says.
Sinha revealed that losing the electoral battle was one of his rare moments of dejection and he had apologised to Khanna.
"For this, in his lifetime, I had apologised to Rajesh Khanna both directly and indirectly. Under no circumstances should I have started my active political career with a bye-election. But I couldn't say no to (LK) Advani ji, who was my guide, guru and ultimate leader," Sinha said in the book.
Advani, who had contested and won the 1991 elections from Gandhinagar and New Delhi, had opted for his seat in Gujarat.
In the bye-election that followed for the Delhi seat, then political novice Sinha was brought in by the BJP to counter the Congress candidate Rajesh Khanna.
Sinha insisted that he joined the party and fought the bye-election "Only because of the persuasion of Kalyan Singh, Shanta Kumar, Madan Lal Khurana and other party leaders.
"I had initially resisted all their overtures but I was finally taken before Advani ji, and he had said, 'It's a question of our prestige and I don't want to hear a 'No' from you this time."
"When I lost that election, it was one of my rare moments of dejection," he said.
"It was the one time I really cried. I also felt very let down because Advani ji had not come even for one day to campaign for me."
Terming his debut electoral loss a "misstep", Sinha revealed that it was a terrible time for him.
"Politics showed its ugly profile in many ways. After I lost that election, I was so sharply sidelined that I would be made to feel distinctly unwelcome at our party office on Ashoka Road. People would stop talking when I entered, or change the topic and make me uncomfortable.
"One day, a party official who is still with the BJP, came up and told me, 'Shatruji, please sit outside. We'll call you when we're ready to talk to you'," he remembered.
"That went straight to my heart and hurt me so badly, that for years, I never visited the office," he added.