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Shatrughan Sinha: Message for minorities is to join the mainstream

May 19, 2014 13:26 IST

'We have created a new milestone'

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Subhash K Jha

Veteran actor and politician Shatrughan Sinha speaks to Subhash K Jha on his Lok Sabha win from Patna Saheb, his allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party and what minority communities can expect from Modi Sarkar.

Following a few pre-poll hiccups -- he was publicly booed by the voters of his constituency Patna Saheb (Bihar) for largely being a no-show during his tenure -- Shatrughan Sinha is having the last laugh.

Riding high on the Modi wave, the veteran actor and politician managed to retain his seat by defeating his closest rival -- Bhojpuri actor and Congress nominee Kunal Singh -- by a record margin of over 2.5 lakh votes.

In this interview, his first since the poll results came in, Sinha discusses the new government.

You managed to win by a huge margin against all odds.

Yes, we are now preparing to celebrate.

I've been getting congratulatory calls and messages from colleagues and friends from the industry -- Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan wished me recently.

Shabana Azmi too called and raved about the massive mandate. I have won by a much higher margin than the last time. It seems I've broken my own record.

What do you have to say to detractors?

I hold no grudges against them.

The people who were spreading rumours of my impending defeat, were being sponsored by vested interests.

I am very happy. I had promised the people of Patna and members of my party that not only would we win, we'd create a new record.

We've created a new milestone.

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Image: Shatrughan Sinha


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'Everyone who has taken the country for a ride will be dealt with firmly'

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No party, except for the Congress, has been given such a thumping majority in decades.

That's exactly what I want my opponents and our friends from the minority communities, in particular, to know.

I want them to see the writing on the wall. I had predicted we'd cross 300 seats during this Lok Sabha elections.

Our brothers and friends from the minority communities should understand that India has voted against Railgate, Coalgate, 2G, 3G and Jijajee (a reference to Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra).

Should Jijajee be scared now?

Everyone, who has taken the country for a ride and who has indulged in massive corruption in the guise of white-collar crime, will be dealt with firmly.

And I'm sure the Action Hero (Narendra Modi) will deal with them in the sternest way possible.

These white-collar criminals have played with the janata's emotions for too long.

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Image: Shatrughan Sinha with daughter, actress Sonkashi


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'I don't belong to any camp'

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Inflation and corruption, under the UPA regime, brought BJP and Narendra Modi to power. Do you agree?

Absolutely.

The UPA government and its leadership's failure was reflected in the massive rise of corruption and in price rise.

How long could the people tolerate all this? Every revolution is born out of instability and chaos. 

The general perception is that you belong to L K Advani's camp. Would that affect your equation with Modi?

Let me say this clearly. I don't belong to any camp.

I never belonged to any camp in the film industry too. I was as devoted to the film industry, as I am to the Bharatiya Janta Party.

BJP is the only camp I am in.

Having said this, I'd like to add that Advaniji's contribution in bringing the BJP into power is invaluable. He is a friend, philosopher, guide, and mentor not only to me but the entire party.

He is the party's godfather. No one should talk about him in a disrespectful manner. And we'll always look forward to his guidance.

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Image: L K Advani
Photographs: Reuters

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'Let the courts decide what happened in Gujarat in 2002'

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Do Muslims need to fear the Modi government?

I am glad you asked me this.

I hope good sense prevails upon some of our friends from the minorities. The message for them is very clear.

Come and join the mainstream. Those who were spreading ugly rumours about Narendra Modiji have all bitten the dust. Someone even had to resign from Bihar after taking on Narendra Modiji.

You mean Nitish Kumar?

Samajhane wale ko ishaara kaafi hai (The wise one will know who the reference is to).

Let the courts decide what happened in Gujarat in 2002.

We are not a banana republic.

Forget caste, community politics. That's outdated.

Development, progress and peace are the keywords now.

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Image: Shatrughan Sinha
Photographs: Mohammed Jaffer/SnapsIndia

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'I was offered the I&B portfolio a while ago but I declined'

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Subhash K Jha

Nitish Kumar's decision to part ways with Narendra Modi proved his undoing. 

That decision proved to be deadly for him. It put the last nail in his political coffin.

There was a signature campaign against Narendra Modiji in Bollywood.

Oh God! They were all pseudo-intellectuals headed by a directionless team. Their high command was a headless chicken.

Are you going to take over the information and broadcasting portfolio?

I won't hesitate from taking up any responsibility that my party wants me to. But when I was offered the I&B portfolio a while ago, I declined.

Why?

Hamare industry ke colleagues mera jeena haraam kar denge (The film industry folks will make life hell for me if I do).

And why me? There's Hema Malini too.

There are other portfolios that I can take. It's the prime minister's call to take.

If he thinks I am fit for a Cabinet responsibility, I'll take it up and handle it to the best of my abilities. 


Image: Narendra Modi
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
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