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BJP keeps Shatru 'khamosh' during Bihar polls

Last updated on: October 09, 2015 15:47 IST

While Narendra Modi addresses rally after rally in Bihar, Shatrughan Sinha has been left out of the BJP's campaign. M I Khan finds out why.

IMAGE: Shatrughan Sinha was named as one of the BJP's 40 campaigners for the Bihar polls. Photograph: Reuters

The Bihar assembly election is a tight race and the Bharatiya Janata Party is doing all it can to ensure that it comes out in front.

The BJP has roped in all its big names -- from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to party President Amit Shah -- to campaign. But one name is missing from its list: Bollywood star and the BJP's MP from Patna Saheb, Shatrughan Sinha.

Sinha -- arguably the BJP's best known Bihari face -- has not campaigned even once for the party though his name was on the list of 40 campaigners for the assembly election.

"Shatrughan Sinha is not likely to campaign for the BJP," a BJP leader close to the MP, told, adding, "He has not visited Bihar since the election campaign began in September."

Sinha, this BJP leader added, is unhappy with his party. He feels neglected, especially after he was not included in the Union Cabinet. Sinha served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet.

Once the BJP's leading campaigner in Bihar, Sinha was sidelined with the rise of the Modi-Shah combine in the party.

Sinha has also embarrassed the BJP by calling Chief Minister Nitish Kumar 'guardian of the state' and the 'best ever chief minister Bihar has seen.'

His praise for Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad has also irked the BJP's current ruling dispensation.

"How can the party tolerate its leaders praising its rivals in public?" asked another BJP leader, adding that the BJP may take action against Sinha after the Bihar election.

Sinha was also critical of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to suspend 25 Congress MPs during the monsoon session of Parliament.

Add to his list of anti-party actions: His supporting BJP MP R K Singh after the former Union home secretary alleged that the party sold election nominations for money.

Though Sinha has stressed that he will remain a part of the BJP, some sources claim he may switch sides and join Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United party after the election.

M I Khan in Patna