Shatrughan Sinha hopes star status, dabang Modi will silence critics

Written by Santosh Singh | Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: Apr 13 2014, 17:48pm hrs
SinhaSinha at a nukkad sabha in Ramnagri on Friday. (Express photo:Ravi S Sahani)
PATNA Saheb BJP candidate Shatrughan Sinha, who is up against Congress candidate and Bhojpuri actor Kunal Singh, JD(U)s Gopal Prasad Sinha, a doctor, and AAPs Parbeen Amanuallah, a former minister, hopes his stardom and Bihari babu image, along with the Narendra Modi wave, will help BJP retain its bastion, which goes to polls on April 17.

His strategy is simple. He uses his star status often, invokes action hero Modi to connect with voters, mixes his speech with Urdu and Hindu couplets, and justifies his inaccessibility citing social and film commitments. He also relies heavily on his iconic, monosyllabic dialogue Khaamosh (silent).

Of Friday, he spends the first half of the day giving interviews and meeting party leaders at a posh Patna hotel. His campaign starts with a nukkad sabha at busy market in Dariyapur in old Patna where party workers have raised a small platform.

Workers gather crowds by distributing saffron scarves, caps and Modi masks. Two of them, Pankaj and Himanshu, deliver passionate speeches on inflation, terrorism and unemployment. At 6 pm, there is a flurry of activity. The star has arrived. People rush to shake his hand. After the chaos, Sinha, dressed in kurta and half jacket, gets up on the stage and spreads his arms. The crowd including people from nearby houses who are up on their roofs cheer.

Khaamosh, he begins. Sinha, who has his paternal house at Nala Road in the area, says, I am getting emotional. I can see my Patna Collegiate School from here. I used to bunk school at times. When teachers noticed, I took this route to run home. Youngsters roar; Sinha knows he has got the connect.

Next, he talks about his journey to fame. I was the first youth to become an actor from Bihar and Jharkhand. I was the first person from the entertainment world to directly become a cabinet minister at Centre, he says, adding that he is not praising himself but telling the youth of Bihar that with their talent, they can do even better than him.

So far, there is no mention of what he did or intends to do for the constituency.

Next, he invokes the BJP PM candidate. Enough of inflation and corruption. We are on our way to form a government led action hero and dabang Narendra Modi. I have come here to invite you to join the process of change and give NDA a majority, he says.

From there, he moves on to another nukkad sabha near Golghar. At peak business hour, he apologises to shopkeepers for taking their time. A few youths display a placard saying that he seeks votes but then goes Khaamosh (silent) for five years. I know people complain of not being able to meet me frequently. Their complain is justified to an extent. BJP has made me a star campaigner, who has travel across India. But I still come four-fives times in a month to Patna. If anyone has to complain, it should be my family.

He goes on to slam the UPA government for various scams railgate, khelgate and coalgate. Every time he delivers a punch line, a young voter shouts, Jiyo, jiyo.

After two, almost identical speeches, Sinha reaches Ramnagri Modi under Digha Assembly segment. On request, he utters poet Dushyant Kumars lines in his iconic baritone: Kaun kehta hai aasman mein surag nahi ho sakta, ek patthar to tabiyat se uchhalo yaaro (Who says the sky cannot be penetrated, one just needs to throw a stone with commitment). A young voter goes to podium and requests a photograph with him. When Sinha learns the boys name is Dharmendra, he says: Naam bhi shaandar hai (The name is stunning).

Again, he proceeds to talk about his journey and achievements.

In the crowd, Saroj, an onlooker, says, How much this man loves to talk about himself. Why he does not tell us what he has done in the last five years He leaves the function midway.