Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who has been constantly sniping at the BJP leadership and was dropped by the party from the Patna Sahib seat, is to join the Congress on March 28, a party leader said on Tuesday.
"Shatrughan Sinha will join Congress in New Delhi on March 28 at 11.30 am ... He will be our candidate from Patna Sahib," chairman for the state Congress election campaign committee Akhilesh Prasad Singh told newsmen here.
Sinha, a two-term BJP Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib, has been associated with the BJP for three decades. He was dropped by the saffron party which chose to field Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from the seat.
Sinha has been openly critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Speculation had been rife for some time that he would join the Congress, which is an ally of the 'Mahagathbandhan' which comprises of the RJD and other local parties.
Asked whether Sinha would be included in the party in the presence of AICC president Rahul Gandhi, as was being speculated in the media, Singh said "top leaders will be present on the occasion".
Sources in the 'Mahagathbandhan' had recently claimed that there was a tug of war between the Congress and RJD over Sinha's candidature. Lalu Prasad's party, with which the 'Bihari Babu' shares cordial relations, was said to be keen on fielding him on its own symbol.
Congress has been contesting from Patna Sahib whenever it has fought the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the RJD. Singh's statement indicate that the decks have been cleared for Sinha's candidature by the Congress leadership.
Singh, however, dodged queries about Kirti Azad, another BJP MP who had recently joined the Congress saying he will be contesting elections. "From where, it will be decided
by the party," he said.
Azad is serving his second consecutive term in the Lok Sabha from Darbhanga and the Congress wants to field him from the seat as the constituency has a large population of Maithil Brahmins its traditional supporters.
RJD has been insisting that it has won the Darbhanga seat many times and would like to contest it again with its senior leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui as its candidate.