Cine star-turned politician and BJP MP from Patna Sahib constituency, Shatrughan Sinha is exploring options for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Sources say that he is in touch with Lalu Prasad Yadav and may contest the next elections on a Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket.
According to sources, the BJP leadership is unhappy with the “Bihari babu” and may deny him a ticket in 2019. It is believed that senior party leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is keen to contest from Sinha’s constituency, which is dominated by the Kayastha community. Both Sinha and Prasad are from the Kayastha community. Sources close to Sinha said that after the Kayasthas, Yadavs are the second largest bloc in Patna Sahib. “Kayasthas have always supported Sinha. If he contests from RJD, he will definitely get support from the Yadav voters as well. Besides, he is acceptable among other communities also because of his star status,” said a source.
Though Shatrughan Sinha has always been inaccessible to Patna Sahib voters, Kayastha voters have high regard for him. “He is a disappointment as a leader, but our support for him remains intact. That’s the reason we voted for him in 2009 and in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He has given identity to Biharis all over the country,” said the source.
Interestingly, Sinha is in equally good terms with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. However, in the changed political situation, he is unlikely to get a ticket from the JDU, as the party is in alliance with the BJP. Therefore, in all likelihood, he may be offered a ticket by Lalu Yadav in the 2019 elections. However, BJP sources said that Sinha deserting the party would not mean that the Kayasthas would desert the BJP. “Sinha did not win because of his star appeal; the Kayasthas have traditionally been with the BJP. So if he contests from the RJD, the Kayastha vote will not get transferred to that party automatically,” said a BJP source.
Sinha, on the other hand, is trying his best to keep his Kayastha voters intact. He is scheduled to take part in a function, organised by the Akhil Bhartiya Kayastha Mahasabha, at “Chitransh City” in Ranchi on Sunday, 22 October, where he will also garland the statue of Jaiprakash Narayan (JP), also a Kayastha. The function will be attended by senior Kayastha leaders of Jharkhand, Yashwant Sinha and Subodh Kant Sahai.
Though Sinha has been one of the star campaigners of the BJP since early days, his supporters say that he is not getting his due in the party. He has spoken out of party line on several occasions, causing great embarrassment to the leadership. Last week, he expressed his unhappiness as he was not invited to share the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function in Patna to mark the centenary celebrations of the Patna University despite being an alumnus.
A few months ago, Sinha openly supported Lalu, who, along with his family members, is facing the heat over charges of amassing benami properties. Sinha came out in support of Lalu and said mere allegations meant nothing until they were substantiated. “Enough of mudslinging by opponents on our political leaders, be it Kejriwal, Lalu Yadav or Sushil Modi. High time to substantiate your claims or pack up! Can’t just keep feeding media with one night stories. Enough is enough,” he had tweeted at that time.
Reacting to his tweets, Sushil Modi called him a traitor. “BJP’s shatru has come out in defence of Lalu when alliance partner Nitish Kumar has also distanced himself. He should be ousted from the party as he is a gaddar within the party,” he had tweeted. At that time, RJD was part of the Mahagathbandhan.