Sulking BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha today claimed the Bihar poll results could have been different for his party had he been projected as the chief ministerial candidate.
"I am not bragging, but I do feel that when the darling (laadla) of Bihar people, the dhartiputra (son of the soil) and the original 'Bihari babu' was deliberately sidelined, it definitely had an impact on my supporters and fans.
"I can't say how much difference it could have been, but I can definitely say, some difference would have been there. We could have definitely got more seats than what we got," he told Rajat Sharma in Aaj ki Baat programme on India TV, according to a press release issued by the channel.
Asked whether he was unhappy for not being made a Minister at the Centre, he said,"These are all stale dialogues, planted by vested interests. Some people grabbed too many posts, they started saying I am unhappy because I was not made a Minister.
Sinha said, "You don't get feathers of gold on you when you become a minister, but yes, when I was not made a minister, my fans, supporters, my relatives, friends and my voters began thinking why was I not made a minister. What was my sin? Was my performance not good as a Health Minister, or whether I did not perform well in the Shipping Ministry."
He said, "I know, and I console them by saying it is Prime Minister's prerogative to select a minister. I am not challenging his wisdom, but simultaneously I console them, if not today, tomorrow (may be I become a minister)."
On his name not figuring in the posters and banners during Bihar polls, he said, "Several times they (supporters, fans) felt I was being deliberately sidelined, for some particular reason, on which I will not speak much".
The Patna Sahib MP also did not approve of making the Prime Minister the sole campaigner for the party but said, had he not campaigned the BJP would not even have got the seats it won.
"Is it the right method? Could we not lessen the Prime Minister's burden? Could we not been brought to the front? But why, I think you know the reason better," he said, seeking accountability being fixed and action taken against those responsible for the defeat.
Hitting out at the party leadership for inducting leaders from outside to micromanage the campaign in Bihar, he said they were brought in from Punjab, Maharashtra and Delhi, "who were completely out of touch with grassroots workers and ground reality, who did not understand the caste equations here."
Sinha said, "these people stationed here for months together, so much money, talent and energy were spent, and what was the result?...We do not learn from the earlier defeat in Delhi. It showed desperation. We lost badly and that makes me sad."
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said controversial remark on caste reservation by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and the raging beef controversy had nothing to do with the election debacle faced by BJP in Bihar.
"It was a big defeat, which was completely unexpected," he told the channel.
Asked if BJP was put on the defensive by Bhagwat's remark during polls, Prasad said, "That is being unnecessarily hyped. I do not agree. They were making it an issue at the lower level, but later it was clarified both by the RSS and the Prime Minister. It was not such a big issue."
He said, "But I agree it is a big defeat for us, which have faced after a long time in Bihar. More than a year back we had an emphatic win in Bihar during the Lok Sabha elections. We had also won in elections before that, but this time we are back to our position during the nineties."