Has Shotgun shot himself in the foot?

Shatrughan Sinha. File photo

Old habits die hard. It seems so more in the case of veteran parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha who is in the habit of making more ‘Shatru’ (enemies) than friends.

When he was in the BJP, he would often cast aspersions on the top party leadership. The BJP, however, restrained itself and never took any disciplinary action against its erstwhile star campaigner even though he continued to take pot-shots at Prime Minister and the BJP chief.

Shatru’s old habit of going against the official party line continues even after joining the Congress. It’s more than a fortnight that he joined the grand old party and became the official party candidate from Patna Sahib, his Lok Sabha constituency, against BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad. But many of the local Congress leaders are yet to come out whole heartedly to campaign for Shotgun (as Shatru is fondly called).

Reason: While campaigning for his wife Poonam Sinha in Lucknow, who is contesting as Samajwadi Party candidate against Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Shatru showered encomiums on Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.

Terming both Akhilesh and Mayawati as the potential prime-ministerial candidate, Shatru may have scored a few brownie points in UP, but in Bihar, the Bihari Babu ruffled many a feather after Congressmen took strong exception to his praise for ‘opponents’.

“When Shatrughan is now in the Congress, he should project Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate. Instead he is showering praise on those leaders who have been assailing Rahul every day in UP,” shouted a section of Congressmen.

“When he was a Bollywood star, Shatrughan had this habit of swimming against the tide. He would often give statements against Amitabh Bachchan. But that was more to grab headlines. In politics too, he has adopted the same methodology. He used to criticise Congress while contesting against Rajesh Khanna from New Delhi. Later, he used to praise Nitish a lot when the Bihar CM left NDA. Now that he is in the Congress, he is praising Akhilesh and Maya,” said political scientist Ajay Kumar.

Shatru, however, rubbishes such theory. “It’s true that I am contesting here as a Congress candidate. But at the same time, it’s equally true that my wife is contesting as SP nominee from Lucknow. As a husband, I have every right to support my wife,” Shatru tries to put a lid on the row.

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