File photo: IANS
Chhindwara (Madhya Pradesh) (IANS) Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha has stirred a controversy by saying that Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah had the "biggest" role in India's Independence and progress, evoking sharp attack from the BJP.
Addressing a public rally in support of Congress candidate and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath's son Nakul Nath on Friday in Sausar, Sinha said Congress "family" belongs to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jinnah, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi who played the "biggest and the most significant role" in India's progress and Independence.
"This is the reason why I have come here. I have joined the Congress for the first and last time and will not turn back now," said Sinha, who recently joined the Congress after quitting the BJP.
Sinha made the remarks in presence of Kamal Nath, who despite sharing the same stage, said on Saturday that he did not hear any such thing.
"I did not hear any such comment. If you are saying then he must have said it but I did not hear it... I must have been talking to other people at that time," the Chief Minister said as the controversy erupted.
BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday raked up the issue while addressing a rally in Odisha's Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha constituency and slammed Sinha for praising Jinnah.
"Shatrughan Sinha has just gone to the Congress. Now he says that Jinnah was also a great man like Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. The Congress leaders are praising Jinnah, who has divided the country. It is their character," Shah said.
Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, when asked about the issue at a press conference, said it was for Sinha to explain.
"Shatrughan Sinha, whatever his views are, he must explain. But a few days ago, he was part of the BJP... I don't have to explain the statement of every member. I can only speak for party's official position," he said.
Sinha is contesting the Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate from the Patna Sahib constituency where he is pitted against Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.