Shatrughan Sinha, who quit the BJP under bitter circumstances and joined the Congress last month, has one word for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah — “Khamosh (silence)”. That doesn’t sum up what he really wants to say to PM Modi. “It’s time for PM Modi to pick up his jholi and leave,” the actor-turned-politician told NDTV’s Prannoy Roy, referring to an old comment by the Prime Minister.
In 2016, weeks after announcing an overnight ban on high-value cash, which provoked an opposition outcry, PM Modi had said at a rally: “What can my opponents do to me? I am a fakir. I will take my jhola and leave.”
Shatrughan Sinha, 72, recalled the words as he spoke to NDTV while campaigning in his constituency Patna Sahib in Bihar.
Asked what he would like to say to PM Modi and Amit Shah, if they were to walk up to him right now, he said: “I will say khamosh, you have to answer questions. Be answerable and accountable to people. You cannot just follow the ‘shoot and scoot’ policy and run away. Come here and face the people”.
Shatrughan Sinha had been taunting the leadership of the BJP, his party of more than three decades, for several months. He disparagingly called the ruling party a “two-man army, one-man show”. But both he and the BJP stopped just short of a formal separation.
Finally, Mr Sinha took the step after the BJP dropped him as its candidate for Patna Sahib — from where he had won in 2009 and 2014 — and fielded Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“They are anyway facing the people now. Everywhere they are facing the rap. People have gone to the opposition in a big way. The writing on the wall is clear. Our honorable PM will no longer be the Prime Minister on the 23rd,” said the new Congress recruit.
“Mamata Banerjee is our friend and the iron lady has rightly said that his expiry date is over. Now I only wish him well, wherever he wants to go. He used to say I will pick up my jholi and walk away. Now it’s time for him to pick up his jholi and go away.”
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections. Election results will be out on May 23.