Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said he decided to join the Congress because it was a national party in the “true sense”. Besides, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had recommended the same, he told news agency PTI. Sinha is expected to formally join the Congress on April 6.
“Our family friend Lalu Prasad also suggested I go there (to the Congress), Sinha said. “It was done with his permission and in agreement with him.”
Describing himself a great admirer of Nehru-Gandhi family, Shatrughan had earlier met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
The development came after Shatrughan, a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was denied party ticket from Patna Sahib parliamentary constituency in Bihar. He is currently the sitting Member of Parliament from the seat.
“Democracy within the BJP does not exist any longer. Dictatorship prevails instead. That's why I have decided to join the Congress Party during the auspicious period of Navaratri,” he had said.
Later, he tweeted that he was "painfully, on the way out of BJP".
"Painfully....on the way out of BJP....But hopefully in the best direction under the dynamic leadership of my dear friend Lalu Yadav and the desirable, most talked about leader from the Nehru Gandhi family... the true family of nation builders...." he earlier tweeted.
Sinha also said he would contest from the same seat. "In every situation, the location will be the same Patna".
Bihar Congress in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said Sinha would work as the 'star leader and star campaigner' of the party.
Associated with the BJP since the 1990s, Sinha fell out with the party's leadership in the recent past, complaining it has become a "one-man show and two-man army"-- a reference apparently to the Prime Minister and his trusted aide and party president Amit Shah.
Sinha has repeatedly asserted he would seek a re-election from the Patna Sahib seat though it may be as a candidate of a different party.
Sinha had served as a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and is serving his second consecutive term as MP from Patna Sahib.
On Friday, his daughter Sonakshi Sinha said he should have "moved on" from the BJP long back as he did not get the respect he deserved. Sonakshi said joining the Congress is his choice and she believes the veteran actor will be able to do good work with the party.
"It's his choice. If you aren't happy at a place with the way things are going, you should definitely change it. Which he did. I hope with his new association with Congress, he will be able to do a lot more good work and not feel suppressed," Sonakshi told reporters.
The actor said it was high time that Sinha left the BJP.
"Being such a senior leader and having such a vast knowledge, being a member of the party from the beginning, from the time of Jayprakash Narayan ji, Atal ji, LK Advani ji, my father has a lot of respect within the party.
"I feel like those leaders, that entire group has not been given the kind of respect that they deserve. I feel it was time to move on. He's done it a bit too late, he should've done it long back."
She was speaking on the sidelines of HT Most Stylish Awards.