Actor politician Shatrughan Sinha, who after 20 years of association with the BJP, moved to the Congress this year, told NDTV that he is going in the "right direction and a better direction" and he had party veteran LK Advani's blessing for it. "When I came and joined the new direction, the better direction, I took Advani ji's blessings. He almost had tears in his eyes, but he didn't say 'mat jao (don't go)'. He said 'Okay, love you'," Shatrughan Sinha told NDTV's Prannoy Roy.
Here are the highlights from Prannoy Roy's interview with Shatrughan Sinha:
Joining Congress a mistake or best decision?
With due respect to our great leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Nanaji Deshmukh, LK Advani, who brought me into the BJP and groomed me, I would say that I have taken the right decision. I have gone into the right direction and a better direction.
Would Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been proud of this decision?
I am sure (he would be). He is a father figure. Whatever I could do in my life, I have learnt from these stalwarts. Today, if they were there, they would be surprised. When I came and joined the new direction, the better direction, I took Advani ji's blessings. He almost had tears in his eyes, but he didn't stop me from joining.
What's the difference between Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
Difference between a democracy during that time and the dictatorship presently. People who wonder about my exit, they should also wonder about what happened to our friend, philosopher, guide, guru Advani ji ultimately, what treatment did they give to our father figure Atal Bihari Vajpayee, how they treated Jaswant Singh. Where is Arun Shourie? What happened to our statesman Yashwant Sinha? He had no option but to leave the party. So, in my case, I took the right decision at the right time.
I am grateful to my Congress family. The Congress family is doing so well. Besides it is a family of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Madam Gandhi (Sonia Gandhi) and Rajiv Gandhi.
Difference between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi?
I am not working under anybody, I am working with the party. The party is my constitution. Whatever the party says, whatever I can do in the best of my capacity and capability, I shall do it and I will be very happy to do it. Rahul Gandhi is a youth icon today. No matter whoever is calling him pappu, he has proved once and for all that he is not pappu. But everybody knows who is feku. Within one year of taking over as the president of Congress, he was able to win three states. He also fulfilled all the promises to the farmers in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Has the Balakot strike made a difference in this election?
Not really! Every Indian is a nationalist. They are all patriotic. They (BJP) try to divert attention. In a previous meeting, I said that our Prime Minister believes in the shoot-and scoot-policy. When we ask him about unemployment, he talks about Pulwama terror attack.