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PM Modi must apologise to Advaniji with folded hands: Shatrughan Sinha

Shatrughan Sinha speaks to Editor-In-Chief of Nation Next Vikrant Shandilya about what all PM Modi must do for BJP's better political prospects.
Senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha with Editor-In-Chief of Nation Next Vikrant Shandilya (Photo by: Himanshu Pal)

Bollywood star, former union minister, first ever actor to become a Cabinet Minister, disgruntled BJP leader, senior parliamentarian or Sonakshi Sinha’s father – one can address him in multiple ways but the aptest attribute that describes him the best is  – Shatrughan Sinha. My name is my identity! I don’t need any ministership, or any other adjectives or attributes to describe me,” said Sinha in a matter-of-factly manner, with a rather humbleness on his face, when I referred to his criticism by certain BJP colleagues of his, who say that Sinha’s on a dissent spree in the party because he’s not been made a minister in Modi’s government. 

When he invited me to, “just to have a freewheeling chat,” he specified, “we wouldn’t discuss politics this time,” but since the time we began, the entire hour-long conversation veered around his and the nation’s favourite topic – Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi. Here’re the excerpts of Dialogue @ Nation Next with Shatrughan Sinha:

Your aggression towards Modi in your speech at Vidarbha Yuva Sansad is creating furore. It has crossed a million views on Nation Next’s YouTube channel, and is still going viral like anything. Nation Next viewers from across the world are calling you up and writing to you. If we perceive this as an indication of your fans supporting your dissent against BJP’s leadership, isn’t it time you finally quit BJP? You say you first belong to Bharatiya Janata then you belong to Bharatiya Janata Party. Won’t you able to serve Bharatiya Janata better by ending this relationship of longstanding disgruntlement with BJP?

The way things are evolving or devolving, it seems that I will be ousted of the party soon. I agree with you that the uncertainty around my existence in the party has been there for years. But I don’t agree with your notion that I will be able to serve people better by not being part of the party. In public life, by associating with a principled and transparent political party, one can bring smiles on more faces. Pursuing social work individually, without any political base, limits the scope and impact of one’s social work. 

Moreover, except certain romantic linkups of earlier times, there have never been any allegations against me (Laughs). On a serious note, I have successfully cleared the endurance test by keeping my personal and political life squeaky clean. 

I did a lot of social work, outside the political milieu, before entering the foray when Subodh Kant Sahay roped me in Bihar Bachao Andolan. After that, I was politically groomed under the tutelage of senior leaders like LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Nanaji Deshmukh and Kailashpati Mishra.

Finally, I got the exposure of governance with the blessings of former prime minister late Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when he entrusted me with the subsequent responsibilities of health and shipping ministries in his cabinet. In all these social and political endeavours of mine, there has been no involvement of the current PM – Modiji – in whatsoever manner. So, why should I quit my party because of him?

But, now the BJP is completely controlled by PM Modi and his closest aide and the party’s president Amit Shah. The way your mentor Advaniji and other stalwarts have been sidelined, the going seems to be getting much tougher for you in the BJP…

Yes. It has happened. The democracy in the BJP has been replaced by autocracy now. Demonetisation and shoddy implementation of GST, without involving or consulting others in the party or even in the government, etc. are clear examples of Modiji’s autocratic approach. No minister has any power to take decisions in even their own ministries. Everyone is just busy showering praises on the PM. 

When Modiji says country is bigger than the party, he and I are on the same page. What else am I sayingAm I any less in seniority than him? Does becoming a prime minister mean that you have become a vidwan (too knowledgeable)A prime minister can be foolish as well. I see him as a colleague and a former friend. He came to my son’s wedding, and I am obliged for the same! 

But when he does an act of ‘Looking London, Talking Tokyo,’ I have a problem. Why doesn’t he answer people’s questions on Rafale deal, demonetisation, GST, etc? I am just expecting him to not to be arrogant. I would advise Modiji to seek apology from public, for all the wrongs he’s committed! If American public can forgive their former president Bill Clinton, why won’t Indian public forgive Modi?

How do you foresee BJP’s future under the leadership of PM Modi and Amit ShahAnd how do you foresee your future in Modi’s BJP?

One-man-show and two-men-army will not continue for long! Now that weaknesses of the party are getting apparent, no big leader is there to stand besides Modi, as he’s sidelined all of them. Also, he cannot seek anyone’s help out of his conceit. As a senior leader myself, I would suggest the honourable prime minister to go and apologise to Advaniji with folded hands. He keeps on breaking protocols to hug all sorts of people. He should go and hug our senior leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha.

So far, as my future in BJP is concerned, I didn’t join the party to leave it one day. I have learnt commitment to the party from Vajpayeeji and Advaniji. However, I also learnt from them that party is bigger than any individual, and the country is bigger than any party. In the interest of the nation, I am questioning wrongs, and I will continue to do so. 

As a result, they have undermined my position in the party. Forget about making me a minister, they have even removed me from all of the committees I was part of. They have tapped my phones. Except for a couple of romantic conversations with some old female friends, they will get nothing out of tapping my phones (Laughs). Na koi kala dhan, Na koi Kali kartoot! (Neither any black money, nor any black deeds.) 

As you mentioned about Advaniji, a lot of friends of mine opine that I am paying the price of my closeness with my guru Advaniji. But, uff na Karenge, lab see lenge, aanso pi lenge. 

So, will you continue to pay the price of your closeness to Advaniji or will you move on?

As a professional, I shall conclude that I won’t leave the party but whenever the party wants to leave me, I shall salute its decision and then I will take recourse to Newton’s third law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Till then, I can’t reveal my plans. 

How do you respond to your critics, who say that you and other senior leaders are unhappy for not having been made the ministers in Modi government?

We all are beyond his ministerships. Even when I was a union minister, I was always recognised as Shatrughan Sinha. My personality is my identity. 

You have been criticising Modi to be autocratic, taking wrong decisions like demonetisation, shoddy implementation of GST, etc. But Modi’s charm doesn’t seem to be fading in front of voters at large. If he’s so wrong, then why a regular voter hasn’t still got disenchanted with PM Modi?

 Is this theory that the voters have not got disenchanted true? Or is it primarily about fake news and planted stories Or is it about media being subjugated to power and money? Today’s media reminds me of the media during the Emergency. The way people are leaving in-between the public meetings of the PM says it all. As Rajesh Khanna’s song goes: Yeh Public Hai, Sab Janti hai!

The government is not anyone’s private property. It’s an ongoing process. Today he’s at the helm; someone else will be there tomorrow. And now it’s quite apparent that someone else only is going to be there in power tomorrow. 

You say you have been showing mirror to the party leadership by criticising certain actions of theirs. If Modiji, looking at his reflection in your mirror tries to improve upon his image, isn’t it a bit too late for that? 

It seems like that. They should have changed earlier. Timing is extremely important in films as well as politics. For now, I would suggest it’s high time Modiji went back to our senior leaders, who have made the party and at times saved the party. Their experience should be leveraged with an emotion and expression of consecration towards them. The need of the hour is to carry on with an attitude of gratitude. It’s definitely difficult to resurrect the party at this stage but notwithstanding Shah Rukh Khan’s dialogue from Don, yeh namumkin nahi hai! (It’s not impossible). 

Watch Shatrughan Sinha’s full speech below:

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‘Yes, it’s an ED government:’ Fadnavis slams opposition after trust vote victory

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Amar Ashok Jajoo | Mumbai

Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis slammed the opposition MLAs after CM Eknath Shinde-led government win the trust vote in the assembly. Countering the charge that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was misused to effect the change in government, Fadnavis said: “People taunt that it’s an ED government. Yes, it’s an ED government, of Eknath-Devendra.”

Earlier in the day, opposition MLAs shouted ‘ED, ED’ when rebels from Shiv Sena supported Eknath Shinde during the trust vote, which he won 164-99, increasing the winning margin from the speaker’s election held yesterday. Some of these MLAs or their families are facing investigations by the ED, an agency under the BJP-led central government.

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देवेंद्र भाऊ, आपल्याबद्दलचा आदर शतपटींनी वाढला: डॉ परिणय फुके

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy CM, Maharashtra

मा.श्री देवेंद्र भाऊ,

तुमचं व्यक्तिमत्व आमच्यासाठी नेहमीच आदर्श राहिलं आहे. तुमचे निर्णय अनेकदा आम्हाला संभ्रमात टाकत असतात. अनेकदा या निर्णयाची संगतीसुद्धा आम्हाला लागत नाही. अनेकदा आम्ही अस्वस्थ देखील होतो. परंतु तो निर्णय किती महत्त्वाचा असतो याची प्रचिती आम्हाला नंतर येत असते.

आपण काल घेतलेला एक राजकीय निर्णय असाच आम्हाला संभ्रमात टाकणारा, काहीसा अस्वस्थ करणारा होता. चालून आलेलं मुख्यमंत्रीपद एकाच क्षणात तुम्ही मा. एकनाथ शिंदे यांना दिलं आणि स्वतः मात्र पदाचा त्याग केला. कुठलेही पद मी स्वीकारणार नाही आणि मंत्रिमंडळात राहणार नाही, फक्त बाहेरून पक्षासाठी आणि राज्यासाठी या मंत्रिमंडळात असणाऱ्या मंत्र्यांना मदत करेन अशी भूमिका आपण घेतली.

Dr Parinay Fuke, MLC

आपण अचानक घेतलेल्या या निर्णयामुळे आम्ही सगळे संभ्रमात पडलो होतो. महाराष्ट्रात खळबळ माजली होती. परंतु आपण घेतलेला निर्णय हा पक्षहिताचा होता. ‘आधी राष्ट्र, नंतर पक्ष आणि शेवटी मी‘ अशी आपल्या भारतीय जनता पार्टीची भूमिका राहिलेली आहे. परंतु या भूमिकेचं पालन सगळे करतातच असे नाही आणि ते केलंच पाहिजे हा कुणाचा आग्रहही नसतो. भाजपा मध्ये घराणेशाही नाही. पक्षात जातीयवाद नाही. या पक्षात इतर पक्षाप्रमाणे नेतृत्वसुद्धा लादलं जात नाही. आपण अत्यंत परिश्रमातून, संघर्षातून कमी वयात एवढी मोठी पदं गाठली आणि जेव्हा असेच एक सर्वोच्च पद पुन्हा आपल्या वाट्याला येत आहे हे माहीत असूनही आपण एका क्षणात पक्षाचे हित डोळ्यांसमोर ठेवून मुख्यमंत्रीपद नाकारलं. आपण निर्णय घेतला की, मी मुख्यमंत्री होणार नाही, पक्षासाठी काम करत राहणार. परंतु तुमचे मंत्रीमंडळात असणे महाराष्ट्राच्या विकासासाठी, पक्षासाठी किती गरजेचे आहे हे पक्षाला जाणवले आणि पक्षाने आपणास आदेश दिला. पक्षाचा आदेश शिरसावंद्य मानून आपण एका क्षणात उपमुख्यमंत्रीपद स्वीकारलं.

आपल्या मनाचा मोठेपणा काल अवघ्या दोन तासात अख्या महाराष्ट्राने पाहिला. यात काही लोक राजकारण शोधतील. काही लोक वेगवेगळे अर्थ काढतील. पण एक गोष्ट नक्की की, आपण भारतीय जनता पक्षाचे निष्ठावंत कार्यकर्ते आहात. राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघाच्या संस्कारात आपण वाढलेले आहात. काल आपण घेतलेले निर्णय ‘राष्ट्र प्रथम, नंतर पक्ष व शेवटी स्वत:’  हे संस्कार अधोरेखित करतात.

तुम्ही केलेला हा त्याग अमूल्य आहे. आमच्यासारख्या लहान माणसांना त्या त्यागाचा अर्थ समजत नाही. परंतु नंतर जेव्हा लक्षात येते तेव्हा आपले मोठेपण आमच्या लक्षात येते.

मी लहानपणापासून आपला कार्यकर्ता आहे. राजकारणात आपणच मला आणलं, आपणच मोठं केलं, आपल्यामुळेच मोठ्या पदांवर बसण्याची संधी मला मिळाली.

काल संपूर्ण महाराष्ट्राने आपला मोठेपणा, आपला त्याग पहिला.  काल-परवापर्यंत लोक आपल्यावर वेगवेगळे आरोप करीत होते, आपल्याबद्दल गैरसमज निर्माण करत होते. ‘‘हा माणूस सत्तेसाठी हपापला आहे. हा माणूस मुख्यमंत्री बनण्यासाठी शिवसेना फोडून भारतीय जनता पक्षाचे सरकार आणत आहे. ‘‘परंतु या सगळ्या आरोपांना आपण न बोलता आपल्या कृतीतून उत्तर दिलं.

२०१९ मध्ये अशीच एक संधी पुन्हा आपल्याला चालून आली होती. भारतीय जनता पक्ष आणि शिवसेना युतीचे सरकार महाराष्ट्रात पुन्हा सत्तेवर येणार असं वाटत होतं. महाराष्ट्राच्या जनतेने तसा कौलही दिला होता. परंतु शिवसेनेने काँग्रेस, राष्ट्रवादीसोबत जाऊन महाविकास आघाडी उभी केली.  खरंतर आपल्या पाठीत त्यांनी खंजीर खुपसला होता. आपल्याशी दगाफटका केला होता. त्याचे वैषम्यही आपण वाटू दिले नाही. अतिशय मोठ्या मनाने तो निर्णय स्वीकारला आणि महाराष्ट्राच्या सेवेत राहिलात. कोरोनाचा काळ असेल, पूर परिस्थिती असेल, प्रत्येक वेळी आपण महाराष्ट्राच्या जनतेसाठी धावून आलात. तुमचा हा मोठेपणा आणि कामाची धडाडी आमच्यासाठी खूप महत्त्वाची आहे. मागील अडीच वर्षांच्या कार्यकाळात विरोधी पक्षनेते म्हणून काम करताना आपण अनेक महत्त्वाचे प्रश्न जनतेसमोर आणले आणि सरकारला जेरीस आणले.

राजकारण गढूळ झाले, राजकारण चांगल्या माणसांसाठी नाही, असे सांगितले जाते. हे राजकारण किती वाईट आहे याचे अनुभव सर्वसामान्य लोकांना येत असतात. कालच्या आपल्या निर्णयामुळे राजकारण व समाजकारण सर्वांसाठी खुले आहे, हा संदेश दिला. राजकारणात येऊ पाहणाऱ्या तरुणांना एक नवा आदर्श आपण घालून दिला.

देवेंद्र भाऊ, आपलं अभिनंदन करत असताना आपण मुख्यमंत्री झाला नाहीत, याचे दुःख आम्हाला आहे. परंतु आपल्या या निर्णयामुळे पदापेक्षाही मोठा मान-सन्मान, प्रतिष्ठा आपण मिळवली आणि महाराष्ट्राच्या प्रत्येक माणसाच्या मनात घर केलं. आपल्याबद्दलची आत्मीयता, आपल्याबद्दलचा जिव्हाळा हा महाराष्ट्रातल्या नव्हे तर देशातल्या प्रत्येक माणसाच्या मनात निर्माण केलात. म्हणूनच तुम्हाला माझा मानाचा मुजरा…!!

आपला नम्र

डॉ परिणय फुके

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Eknath Shinde to be next Maharashtra CM: Devendra Fadnavis

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Amar Ashok Jajoo | Mumbai

Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that Eknath Shinde, who led the group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, will the next chief minister of Maharashtra. Fadnavis also annouced that he will not be part of the new cabinet that like likely to be sworn in next week.

The announcement by Fadnavis ended speculations of him being the Maharashtra CM again. As per reports, Shinde will take oath as the CM at 7:30 pm at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.  

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