Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee to lead opposition to abolish 'Modi raj': Shatrughan Sinhatext_fields
PATNA: Former BJP leader and current Trinamool Congress MP Shatrughan Sinha claimed on Wednesday that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will be in the "front row" of the opposition's campaign along with Mamata Banerjee and others to abolish the "Modi Raj" in the nation in the 2024 general election.
Sinha claimed that the JD(U) leader had given the BJP a taste of its own medicine after they toppled opposition-led governments in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
On who among Kumar and Banerjee could emerge as the opposition face against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next Lok Sabha poll, the actor-politician told PTI that the people of the country and leaders of the opposition parties would decide it at an "appropriate" time.
Sinha, who had served as a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, has become a Lok Sabha member from Asansol in West Bengal recently from Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Popularly called "Bihari Babu", the actor-politician bid goodbye to the BJP after being denied a ticket from his native Patna Sahib seat in the 2019 general election.
Before parting ways with the saffron party, Sinha had on several occasions targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home minister Amit Shah using the barb "one man party and two men army" against them.
After leaving the BJP, Sinha had unsuccessfully contested from the Patna Sahib constituency on a Congress ticket in 2019.
After lying low in the Congress, he switched over to Trinamool Congress and Banerjee chose him for the by-election in the Asansol Lok Sabha seat vacated by Babul Supriyo.
"Better late than never, Nitish Kumar has given the BJP a taste of its own medicine that it administered in Madhya Pradesh and now in Maharashtra using its money power," Sinha alleged.
He was in his native place Patna on the day Kumar took oath as chief minister of Bihar for the eighth time along with deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav.
"Due to his bold decision, Kumar today stands in the front row in the opposition camp along with Banerjee and others to lead the downfall of 'Modi raj' in the next Parliamentary election," he said.
Asserting that their plan to combat the saffron party and its "politics of intimidation" has gained traction, opposition parties asserted that the JD(U)'s decision to break with the BJP and team up with the RJD, Congress, and others is evidence of the transformation in Indian politics.
Though many still see the JD(U) leader with distrust due to his multiple "U-turns," Kumar, who left the BJP for the second time after severing connections in 2013 and reconciling in 2017, is being discussed in political circles as a potential opposition leader to Modi in 2024.
Also, several other opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have hinted at prime ministerial ambitions.
"The people of the country and the leaders of the opposition parties would decide who would be the face against Modi in the 2024 general election," Sinha, who had earlier served as Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib twice and also as Rajya Sabha MP on two occasions from the saffron party, said.
The newly elected TMC MP from Asansol praised Banerjee and reiterated she would be a "game changer" in the next general election.
Talking about BJP forming its governments in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra after defection in Congress and Shiv Sena respectively, Sinha said, "They (the BJP) had been indulging in the toppling game using money power".
"After khela (game) in West Bengal, the BJP has been cut to size following khela in Bihar," he said using the famous punchline of the TMC during the West Bengal assembly polls in 2021.
Alongside Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee, Sinha served in the Vajpayee government, and he frequently stressed his friendly connection with both of them.
The elderly parliamentarian complimented West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for taking on the BJP and decisively defeating it in the state's 2021 assembly elections.
With PTI inputs