| Shatrughan Sinha |
The BJP workers face an uphill task in the party bastion of Patna Sahib with Shatrughan Sinha being nominated again for the Lok Sabha election.
“The Patna Sahib is the BJP’s citadel. However, it would have been better if we had a fresh candidate,” said a senior BJP leader.
Shatrughan’s name was kept pending by the BJP’s central leadership who were trying to convince him to contest from a Delhi seat while Patna Sahib would have given to either Rajya Sabha MP Ravi Shankar Prasad or Sushil Kumar Modi. However, the former Bollywood star insisted that Patna Sahib remained his first and last choice.
According to the BJP sources, the party’s central parliamentary board was not interested to retain “Shotgun” from Patna Sahib because of his unpopularity among the masses in his constituency and also because of speaking against Narendra Modi on several occasions.
A senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity said: “For Patna Sahib, the state committee sent the names of Ravi Shankar and the sitting MP, Shatrughan. Also, a section of senior leaders were banking on Ravi Shankar’s candidature as despite Patna Sahib being a safe seat for the BJP, Shotgun’s unpopularity and spending more time in Delhi and Mumbai stood against him.”
He added that many state as well as central leaders felt that denying a ticket to Shatrughan would invite unwanted problems for the BJP.
Even voters are confused with retaining Shatrughan from Patna Sahib. Shankar Prasad, former chairman, Bihar Sangeet Natak Academy, and resident of Lohanipur, said: “Like other celebrity actor-turned-politicians, Shatrughan also remain absent from his constituency. For Shatrughan becoming politician or MP is just adding weight to his CV and not for serving people of his constituency.”
Echoing the views of Shankar, Amit Kumar (27), a resident of Nala Road, which is 100 metres away from Shatrughan’s ancestral house at Kadam Kuan, said: “In the last five years, we have never seen Shatrughan. He hardly organises janata durbars like other MPs and seldom meets his voters.”
However, Shotgun’s supporters claim that there was no change in their leader’s popularity. Sanjay Sinha, who works for the MP, said: “Shatrughan visits Patna twice or thrice a month and has built a Rs 7-crore pontoon bridge at Rupasdiyara. At least 70 people have received benefits under the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for medical assistance on the MP’s request.”