Kolkata, Jan 19: Sharing stage with opposition leaders, rebel BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha virtually endorsed Rahul Gandhi's "chowkidar chor hai" jibe against PM Narendra Modi on the Rafale deal. Sinha said that Modi government should come out clean on Rafale pricing otherwise such accusations will continue. Stepping up attack on PM over Rafale, he said, "Why was the contract not given to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) that has the experience of manufacturing MiGs and Sukhoi but to a company (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani's Reliance Defence) that was formed 11 days ago?."He went to extent of justifying Congress President Rahul Gandhi's attack on PM over corruiption in Rafale deal. "Till you hide the details and not answer the questions, the public will continue to say chowkidar chor hai," added Sinha. He accused the Modi government of trying to "divert the attention of the public" from Rafale by raking up Ram Temple issue before 2019 Lok Sabha polls. "Now that polls are here they are trying to divert the attention by taking up the mandir cause in Ayodhya. They (BJP leaders) would not answer anything on the questions of Rafale but will instead try to divert everyone's attention by bringing up the Ram Mandir issue," he added.
Explaining the difference between former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and PM Modi, Sinha said that latter is a "dictator". "People ask me what's different between Vajpayee government and now. I say it was democracy and now its dictatorship," said Sinha.
Reacting to Sinha's comments, The BJP said the party will take "cognisance" of its MP Shatrughan Sinha's presence at the united opposition rally against the Narendra Modi government and termed the actor-turned-politician an "opportunist."
Addressing a press conference at the party office here, BJP's national spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy described Sinha as an "opportunist" and said he was in the party to enjoy the perks of being an MP, but at the same time seen making different voices at various platforms.
"Sinha has been speaking against the party at various platforms. And it is always important for the BJP to act against such people and the party will take cognisance of it," Rudy said.
Taking a dig at Sinha, Rudy said some people are "intelligent in different ways". They abide by the party's whip so that they don't lose their membership. "At the same time, they are so opportunistic... and can be present at any conclave. The BJP will take cognisance of it,"Rudy said.
Sinha has been regularly speaking against the BJP's top leadership which provoked Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi earlier this week, who suggested that Sinha should quit the party.
News24 Bureau/ PTI