"Q: Why?"
By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 20 - Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, fresh after the massive BJP victory in the Lok Sabha election, says it is time to forget the politics of caste and community and focus on development, progress, prosperity and peace. He adds that without being prejudiced, people should watch Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) performance.

BJP on its own bagged 282 seats while the NDA alliance, which it leads, garnered 338 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha. BJP's prime minister-designate will take oath May 26.

Excerpts from an interview with Shatrughan Sinha, who was elected from Bihar's Patna Saheb Lok Sabha constituency:

Q: In spite of the pre-result whispers to the contrary you have won by a massive margin?

A: Ha ha! We're getting ready for celebrations. Yes, I've been getting congratulatory calls and messages from colleagues and friends from the industry... Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan among them. Shabana Azmi called and raved about the massive mandate. I've won by a much higher margin than the last time. It seems I've broken my own record.

Q: What do you have to say to those who were hoping to see you flounder this time?

A: I hold no grudges against them. I forgive them, as they know not what they do or have been doing. I've broken my own previous record. Isske aage kya kehna? (What else?) The people who were spreading rumours of my impending defeat were being sponsored by vested interests. But I am very happy. I had promised the people of Patna and members of my own political party that not only would we win, we would create a new record. Ab sabka mooh bandd karke humne inhe khamosh kar diya (We have given a befitting reply to naysayers). We've created a new milestone.

Q: No non-Congress party has been given such a thumping majority in decades?

A: That's exactly what I want my opponents to know, and our friends from the minority communities in particular to know. I want them to see the writing on the wall. I had predicted we'd cross 300 seats during this Lok Sabha elections. Our brothers and friends from the minority communities should understand that India has voted against Railgate, Coalgate, 2G, 3G and Jijajee (Rahul Gandhi's brother-in-law Robert Vadra).

Q: Does Vadra have any reason to be scared now?

A: Anybody and everybody, who has taken the country for a ride and who has indulged in massive corruption in the garb of white-collar crime, would have to be dealt with firmly. And I'm sure the Action Hero (Narendra Modi) would deal with them in the sternest way possible. These white-collar criminals have have played with the janata's emotions for too long. Inka kuch toh ilaaj hona chahiye (They should be taught a lesson).

Q: Inflation and corruption brought the BJP and Narendra Modi into power. Do you agree?

A: Yes. The failure of the UPA government and its leadership was reflected in the massive rise of corruption and in the price-rise. How long could the masses tolerate these conditions? Every revolution is born out of instability and chaos. The 'hahaakar' of the UPA government proved to be the 'jaijaikaar' of the BJP.

Q: The general perception is that you belong to L.K. Advaniji's camp. Would that be a problem in your equation with Narendra Modi?

A: Let me state clearly, I belong to no camp. Even as an actor, I never belonged to any camp in the film industry. I was as devoted to the film industry as I am to the Bharatiya Janata Party. I am in no camp except the BJP. Having said that, I'd like to add that Advani-ji has contributed the maximum to bringing the BJP into power. He is the party's godfather. No one should talk about him in a disrespectful manner. And we'll always look forward to his guidance.

Q: Do the Muslims have reason to fear the Modi government?

A: I am glad you asked me this. I hope good sense prevails upon some of our friends from the minorities. The writing on the wall for the minority communities is clear. Come and join the mainstream. Those who were spreading ugly rumours about Narendra Modi-ji have all bitten the dust. And someone just had to resign from Bihar after taking on Narendra Modiji.

Q: You mean Nitish Kumar?

A: Samajhane wale ko ishaara kaafi hai. Let the courts decide what happened in Gujarat in 2002. We are not a Banana republic... Forget the politics of caste and community. That's outdated. Development, progress, prosperity and peace are the key-words... But don't judge us on the basis of your prejudices. Watch us. Watch our performance.

Q: Nitish Kumar's decision to part ways with Narendra Modi proved his undoing. Comment?

A: That decision proved a deadly decision for him. It put the last nail in his political coffin.

Q: There was a signature campaign against Narendra Modi in your film industry?

A: Oh god! Pseudo-intellectuals headed by a headless team. Their high command was a headless chicken.

Q: Are you going to take over the Information and Broadcasting minister's portfolio?

A: I won't hesitate while taking up any responsibility that my party wants me to. Long back I was offered the I&B portfolio, but I had declined.

Q: Why?

A: My colleagues in the industry will make my life hell. And why me? There's Hema Malini also. There are other portfolios for me. It's the prerogative of the prime minister. If he thinks I am fit for a cabinet responsibility, I'll take it up and handle it to the best of my ability.


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