Shatrughan Sinha said in politics "we should desist from making personal comments".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dig at the Congress over Rahul Gandhi's elevation, calling it "Aurangzeb Raj", has spurred his party leader Shatrughan Sinha, to take another swipe at him. Known for his frequent jibes at his party, Mr Sinha has now sharply criticised the Prime Minister over his "language" and indicated that it was unsporting of the BJP to comment on an internal matter of the Congress. Similar comments were made today by Siv Sena, the BJP's cantankerous ally, which said Rahul Gandhi has now emerged as a leader and the BJP should have a "big heart" and accept it.
"I believe in true sportsmanship and it's their (the Congress's) internal matter... and in politics we should desist from making personal comments and refrain from mudslinging and raising DNA issue..." Mr Sinha told NDTV. The "DNA issue" was a reference to PM Modi's comment about fellow Bihar leader Nitish Kumar, made in the run-up to the 2015 assembly elections in Bihar. Mr Kumar, who had been greatly incensed by it, now rules Bihar in alliance with the BJP.
Mr Sinha has regularly criticized his party over the last months. In a barrage of tweets, he has questioned the wisdom of BJP's high voltage campaign in Gujarat, the Prime Minister's silence on the huge row over Bollywood movie Padmavati, and on one occasion has even repeated the Congress's "chai wallah" (tea seller) dig. He has also repeatedly eulogized former minister and veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who has repeatedly questioned policies of the party and its government.
This time, he expressed support for Mr Sinha's campaign for farmers in Akola, comparing him to Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan. Targetting Mr Sinha's detractors, he said, "His agitation is an eye-opener for all those who used to remark that he is seeking job at the age of 81".
Critics say Mr Singh's frequent outbursts are a ploy to draw attention by a sidelined leader. Asked about it, Mr Sinha said he was "not trying to embarrass the party leadership but trying to show them the mirror". Since the party was not giving him a platform to raise the issues, "tweets are the only sahara (last resort) for people like me," he said.
The 71-year-old said he was not concerned about the party penalizing him by denying ticket. "Even last time, my ticket was finalised at the last minute, but my vote share was the highest," he said.