Power has unlimited glamour: Shatrughan Sinha (Interview)March 21st, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS
By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, March 21 (IANS) He admits that “power has unlimited glamour”. Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Patna Saheb in Bihar, also candidly says that he is not interested in the “temple-mosque” row but in development issues.
“Let those who wish to go on and on about ‘mandir-masjid’ do so. I’m interested in ‘manav mandir’, human growth and development,” the man popularly known as “Shotgun Sinha” told IANS in an interview.
He also dismissed rumours that his dalliance with the Samajwadi Party was a tactic to force the BJP into giving him the seat. He said his meeting with Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was personal, not political.
“The truth is I was neither lobbying for the ticket nor crossing my fingers for it. I don’t want people to look at my personal relationships through the eyes of politics,” he said.
To others from Bollywood who are jumping into the fray in the Lok Sabha polls this time - such as director Prakash Jha and actor Sanjay Dutt - he says: “Glamour has limited power whereas power has unlimited glamour.”
Q: Finally, the suspense over will-he-won’t-he ends?
A: Ha, but I wish people had asked me instead of speculating about my contesting the elections. I looked at my colleagues in politics and wondered why they were lobbying so hard for ticket. “Gairon se kaha tumne, gairon se suna tumne kuch humse suna hota, kuch humse kaha hota”. I’d have happily given over my candidacy to anyone who asked for it. I didn’t come into politics to become rich or to gain power. I was influenced by the political ideology of Jayaprakash Narayan. I came into this field to practise healthy politics.
Q: Isn’t ‘healthy politics’ a contradiction in terms?
A: It’s time to change that perception. I may have many minus sides to my personality. But you’ll have to appreciate that during all this time in politics, I’ve always been conscious of a healthy image and transparency in my dealings. In all these years there has been no corruption charge against me, not even an FIR. Perhaps that’s a disqualification in today’s politics.
Q: I hope you maintain that disqualification!
A: Thank you. But coming back to my election ticket. Yahan seat ki maara-maari sun raha tha main. They should have asked me. The truth is I was neither lobbying for the ticket nor crossing my fingers for (it). I was busy touring Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa and Pune. Even when I was in Delhi I didn’t visit the BJP office because my candidacy was confirmed some time ago by L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh, not to mention my family friend and our favourite leader Sushma Sawraj.
Q: There was talk of you joining hands with the Samjawadi Party to contest the elections?
A: In fact I was in Amar Singh’s home for two hours (Tuesday), discussing everything except politics. I couldn’t visit him in the hospital when he got admitted recently. Mujhe dosti nibhane ki bahut buri aadat hai. The truth is I was neither lobbying for ticket nor crossing my fingers. I don’t want people to look at my personal relationships through the eyes of politics. When my mother passed away, Lalu Prasad was the first to arrive in my house in Patna. When his daughter got married, no one from the BJP attended. But I did. I’m interested in healthy politics. Even my so-called friction with Amitabh Bachchan is not malicious. The other day I openly said he is on a par, even better sometimes, than me in oratory.
Q: Do you think people like Prakash Jha and Sanjay Dutt will be good for our politics because they won’t be money hungry?
A: Should be. But it doesn’t follow that if someone already has seen enough wealth, he won’t be money hungry. I’ve always welcomed people from cinema into politics. Glamour has limited power whereas power has unlimited glamour.
Q: What do you think of Prakash Jha contesting elections?
A: I’m not very close to him. He has never come to me to sign me for a film. Though I’ve helped him also when he needed to get Madhuri Dixit for a film (”Mrityudand”) or when he needed to meet Subhash Ghai. I’ve felt Biharis in Bollywood get a little shy about working with me, for whatever reason. But you know how I’ve always gone out of my way for all my Bihari colleagues, Prakash, Shekhar Suman or whoever. Prakash seems to be intelligent. But he seems to have faced a dilemma similar to mine.
Q: In what way?
A: When I was getting married, my problem was not whom to marry but whom not to marry. Likewise Prakash’s problem is which political party not to join, rather than which one to join. However, I wish him all the best.
Q: What are your plans if you win the elections?
A: I don’t want to focus on the problems of Patna alone. Being the ‘Bihari babu’, I’d consider the entire state my constituency. Long ago, Sunil Dutt had said to me that no other celebrity from any state was addressed by a name with the specific state attached to it. I am known as ‘Bihari babu’ everywhere. The problems of Patna don’t begin and end with drainage and river. I want to strengthen Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s hands. Let those who wish to go on and on about mandir-masjid do so. I’m not interested in mandir-masjid.
I’m interested in ‘manav mandir’, human growth and development. And I’m selflessly working in this endeavour. I’m going to focus on health, education and development issues. I want to become a strong bridge between Patna and the centre and also between Bihar and Maharashtra. I’d never say anything to shame Bihar.
(Subhash K. Jha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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