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Shotgun buys peace with voters

- Actor denies charge of inaccessibility to people

Patna, April 1: BJP’s sitting MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha sought peace with his detractors within the party who had attempted to “pack” him off to Delhi.

“There is nothing wrong with anyone in my party wanting to contest from Patna Sahib. They are also my brothers, my own people. I feel honoured by the fact that the party wanted me to contest from Delhi stressing that it would have a positive impact on other adjoining seats. But I chose Patna Sahib because this is my home state,” said the actor.

He added: “This is the place where people affectionately call me Bihari Babu. Once the central leadership announces the name, there is no controversy or difference remaining within the party ranks.”

Sinha’s first tenure as MP of Patna Sahib was marked by criticism because of his “inaccessibility to the voters”. Sinha, however, denied the charge.

“The time I spend in Patna could be gauged from (my presence) in functions and the speeches that I have made here. I come to Patna at least four times a month. If a few people feel that I am not available, I want to tell them that even God is not available all the time,” he said.

“Check the record from my office or airport on how many times I come to Patna...I come here almost four times in a month,” Sinha said, adding: “Jeena yahan marna yahan, iske siva jana kahan (I have to live and die here).”

Sinha and his wife Poonam inaugurated the election offices of the party at Kankerbagh and Boring Road on Tuesday.

The nomination of the actor was initially left undecided by the central parliamentary board of the BJP, as it was reported that many senior leaders such as former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Ravi Shankar Prasad were keen to contest from Patna Sahib — considered the safest seat for the BJP.

Even as attempts were made to persuade him to contest from New Delhi, Sinha put his foot down insisting that “Patna Sahib was his first and last choice”.

The actor was ultimately re-nominated from the seat.

He said he found greater enthusiasm towards the BJP among voters in 2009 when he won by a huge margin.