I will not question the collective decision made by the parliamentary board of the party on allocation of posts, says BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha in an interview to CNN-IBN
Following reports of a rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party over Cabinet berth allotment in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, the party is now facing open criticism. BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha showed his discontent over the cut-off age of 75 years set by Modi for his Cabinet ministers.
Sinha stopped short of questioning the decision of post allotment. “As a worker and member of the party, I will not question the collective decision made by the Parliamentary Board of the party," he said.
Transcript of the interview
Is it true that people of your own party don’t take you seriously?
To an extent...but some people in the party see insecurity in my acceptability, respectability, popularity and in my personality in totality.
On not being included in the Cabinet
I don’t have any regrets on that. It is the prerogative of the PM as to who to take as an minister and who not to. I don’t want to challenge Narendra Modi's wisdom. Ache din have come and even better days are ahead.
But it won’t be a big thing if it happens later. Earlier also I have been a full fledged cabinet minister of health & family welfare and cabinet minister of shipping. Today if I have not been made a minister maybe I can become one tomorrow, if he (Modi) feels I am capable. But I don’t do any lobbying.
On whether being a minister differs from popularity got from the public
People have been saying that at the cost of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has got preference and they have been promoted. It is true that some people who won with record margins are not there in this Cabinet and in place some of those who are from Rajya Sabha, and have not faced the public have come forward this time, but I have no grudges.
On LK Advani
Advaniji for me is a friend, philosopher, guide and an ultimate guru. We always want his guidance, love and blessings in life. Maybe some people think that he has been left aside but he is so mature and he is such a statesman that I don’t think these things matter to him much.
We will always need his services. He is a founder member. Likewise there are many other such members and I do not agree that people above 75 should not be in active politics.
On the 75 years cut-off age
If there is a very matured person and an extremely capable politician, and he has crossed 75…like Advani… he is sharper than people who are 30 to 40 years younger to him. Murli Manohar Joshi is a very fine person and politician. I am saddened about Jaswant Singh, who was also a founder member, and for whatever reasons he is not with us the way it should have been…
I will not be able to speak on that because it is a collective decision of the BJP parliamentary board and BJP party president Rajnath Singh has announced it. As a mere party worker I will not challenge the parliamentary board’s decision nor the party president Rajnath Singh."
On what role should LK Advani and MM Joshi play now?
They should be our guide our mentors...to take us forward...to solve our problems. Young age is of no good if you don’t have experience with you. To have experience and maturity is very important.
On LK Advani being the right choice for LS Speaker
This should be LK Advaniji's choice. He is capable of holding any post. He has been deputy PM, home minister...he has experience of so many years. So I don’t think he is not incapable of any post.
If he is given any post it will be a moment of pride for us.
On difference between Modi era and Vajpayee era
See we are going on our agenda of development but the source of inspiration has been Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He is a father figure to us like Advaniji is like a godfather figure for us. But to judge Modiji's governance so early is not correct. But with the agenda of development with which he has come forward, the people of India are with him.
On whether there is a generational shift in Modi's regime
Possible...this is his right as I said earlier. And as for people like Smriti Irani (HRD minister)...she has improved a lot and she fought well this time. You cannot doubt Ravi Shankar Prasad’s (minister of law and justice) capabilities. Piyush Goyal himself is a CA...There might be some leaders who the public might not have faith in, but they should be given a chance. So the PM has used his wisdom.
Image: BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha