M A I N   N E W S

Shatrughan says no to BJP wooing
Swati Chaturvedi

New Delhi, October 14
Bihari babu, Shatrughan Sinha, has gone into a self-imposed vanvas as a frantic BJP is desperately persuading him to campaign in the Bihar elections. Mr Sinha has turned down beleaguered BJP President L.K. Advani for a meeting after shooting off a third letter saying he will not campaign for the BJP because it had given tickets to criminals.

The news that Mr Sinha would not campaign for the BJP was first broken by The Tribune. Sources reveal that BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi contacted Sinha desperately only to be rebuffed and told that he was dealing with the “President directly”. Earlier Mr Advani had refused to even acknowledge a hurt Sinha’s two missives where he spoke of his anguish.

Once the BJP realised that Shatrughan was serious leaders such as Arun Jaitley tried to persuade him while pretending to the media that all was well and Mr Sinha would campaign in the last two phases. While Mr Sinha, when contacted by The Tribune, refused to comment, sources close to him say that he will not budge. “They have spread lies that he was sulking since we did not want to make him CM. That is not true. He was reconciled to that specially since the BJP does not even have the numbers to claim the post. What hurt him was that they were giving tickets to criminals,” says a Sinha insider.

In his final letter to Mr Advani, Shatrughan has raised the point that “are people criminals in Delhi but saints in Patna.” He has also raised the matter of tainted politicians such as Sukhram and said: “What is the point of talking about the UPA’s tainted ministers when the BJP has given tickets to people who are wanted in nine murder cases.”

The BJP has put a brave face on their star campaigner’s refusal. But, sources say the party is worried that Mr Sinha would persist in his refusal for other campaigns as well. While, a section of the party led by Uma Bharti wants the BJP to take action against him the BJP is worried that his absense would have a significant impact on the outcome.

The Congress is watching the situation with delight and actively wooing Shatrughan to jump ship. Sources say senior leaders have been in touch with Mr Sinha and offered him a blank cheque.

The genesis of Shatrughan Sinha’s disillusionment with the BJP can be traced when a campaign was launched against him when he was health minister. Subsequently, the BJP took in a host of actors trying to find a substitute for Mr Sinha without ever consulting him. Most actors such as Dharamendra proved to be political disasters and the rest left the BJP after it lost the elections.


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