Hitting out at Priya Dutt for her reported remarks that her father Sunil Dutt would not have liked his son Sanjay Dutt contesting the Lok Sabha polls on a Samajwadi Party ticket, party leader Amar Singh on Wednesday said Dutt junior had campaigned for the party even when the late actor was alive.
"When the late Sunil Dutt was alive, Sanjay had campaigned for Jaya Prada when she had contested from Rampur (in Uttar Pradesh). He (Sunil Dutt) should have then asked Sanjay not to campaign," Singh said.
Singh claimed that when the Congress had asked Sunil Dutt to campaign against Jaya Prada, he had refused. "He had said he would not campaign against people in the industry be it Jaya Prada, Shatrughan Sinha or Hema Malini."
According to the SP general secretary, Sunil Dutt himself had introduced him to Sanjay.
Amar Singh also criticised noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani for equating Sanjay with Ansal brothers, who have been convicted in the Uphaar tragedy. "The Ansals were involved in a mass murder," he added.
Singh said if former cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu, who had been convicted in a murder case, could be allowed to contest elections, the same principle should apply to Sanjay.
He claimed politicians with tainted past including Mohammad Shahabuddin and Hari Shanker Tiwari too have contested elections.
Singh said celebrities like Priya Dutt, who is a Congress Member of Parliament from Mumbai, should speak carefully before the media.
"There is nothing like off the record for celebrities...now she says that her statement has been presented incorrectly in the media," he added.
The SP general secretary claimed that Priya should not have made the statement.
Speaking on fielding Sanjay's wife Manyataa, Singh said, "The legal hurdles in this regard have been removed. She now writes Dutt as her surname, the way Aishwarya uses the Bachchan title after marriage."
He was apparently replying to sharp reactions from Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh on SP's plans to field Manyataa, in case Sanjay is not allowed to contest from the Lucknow parliamentary seat, as he was convicted under the Arms Act.
The SP has said it would make all efforts to ensure that Sanjay is allowed to contest despite the conviction. "We would approach the Election Commission and courts. If we fail, we will field Manyataa and Sanjay Dutt will be our star campaigner," Singh had said last Sunday.