Would Have Been In Congress If Indira Gandhi Were Alive: Shatrughan Sinha

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Shatrughan Sinha has twice asked PM Modi to break his silence on Rafale deal.

New Delhi:

Shatrughan Sinha, whose open criticism of his party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly made headlines, has told NDTV that had former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi been alive today, "I would have been in the Congress". The 72-year-old, who had been minister twice in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, however declared that he would not quit the BJP, and the party will have to throw him out if it wished to.

Asked if he has learnt anything good from the Prime Minister, Mr Sinha pointed to Mr Modi's energy. "Our scriptures say we must learn from everyone, including 'Ravana'," he added.

Asked about his relationship with the BJP, given his sharp criticisms, Mr Sinha described it as "Sweet and sour". "Dissent is the safety valve of democracy, I am one of the people who is in that role in BJP," he added.

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Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said, the BJP had enjoyed a democratic phase. The current regime, he said, was "more of a dictatorship, where decisions like demonetisation are taken secretly and implemented in the middle of the night".

Mr Sinha agreed with the opposition view that the government has completely decimated the CBI. "What happened in CBI is clearly not a turf war among officers, it is an effort to cover up something like Rafale," he said – endorsing the Congress stand. Mr Sinha has twice asked the Prime Minister to break his silence on the French deal for 36 fighter jets, which the Congress alleged, involved corruption and crony capitalism.

Mr Sinha's proximity with several opposition leaders – as critical of the BJP as him – has triggered speculation about his future plans. The former actor was seen sharing stage with leaders of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and two young leaders of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Tejaswi Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.

The lawmaker, who represents Patna Sahib constituency in Parliament, said in the next year's elections he would contest from the same place, but was not sure of the "platform". He, however, did not elaborate on his plans.

The actor-turned politician said he always had a rebel streak. In 1979, he, along with Dev Anand, flirted with politics by floating a party called the National Party. His biggest political regret is contesting an election in 1992 against actor and dear friend Rajesh Khanna. He not only lost the election, but lost a friend as well, he said.

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