Under attack within the Congress for describing BSP supremo Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav "Prime Minister material", actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha on Wednesday said anyone having successfully ruled a state is competent for the top job in the country.
The Patna Sahib MP, who recently severed his ties with the BJP and joined the Congress which has fielded him from the same seat, also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi dubbing his interview with actor Akshay Kumar as one conducted after "rehearsals" and with the help of "scriptwriters".
"I hold that a prime minister does not need to have exceptional qualities. It is basically a number game. If you and I have the support of the requisite number of MPs, we too can become the prime minister," he told media in Patna.
"Moreover, I think that anybody who has had a successful tenure as chief minister does have the necessary experience for the top job," Mr Sinha added.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is also a prime minister material though the JD(U) president is now with the BJP, he said adding that Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav also ruled Uttar Pradesh and therefore they too fit the bill.
"After all, what are the credentials of Narendra Modi except that he had served as the chief minister of Gujarat. It was ordinary BJP workers like me who created the buzz around him which resulted in the Modi-Modi-Modi chant heard across the country. I have seen it all. I know the tricks of the game," he said.
Mr Sinha had ruffled many feathers within the Congress when he recently campaigned for his wife Poonam who is contesting from Lucknow on a Samajwadi Party ticket though the Congress has also fielded its candidate from there.
His praise for Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav has drawn censure from a section of Congress leaders who found it objectionable in the wake of the SP-BSP alliance giving a cold shoulder to the party in Uttar Pradesh.
Earlier, a fresh controversy emerged minutes after Shatrughan Sinha was seen campaigning for his wife Poonam Sinha, who is SP's candidate from Lucknow, rather than his own party candidate Acharya Pramod Krishnam. While addressing the media Acharya Krishnam requested Mr Sinha to " fulfil the duty towards his party".
Now, reacting to the statement made by his party candidate, Shatrughan Sinha made it clear that 'family comes first than party'.
"Party bohot pyaara hai mujko lekin parivaar se baad kar nahi ho sakta hai. Yeh parivaar ke prati kartavya hai mera."
(I love my party but family is my priority. Family comes first. This is my duty towards my family.)
Earlier, talking to the media, Acharya Krishnam said:
"Mai Lucknow vasiyon ke seva karunga. Lucknow ke dharti ke raaj ko apne maathe ka tilak samjhunga. Aur mai Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi ka bohot aabhar hoon ki unhone mujhe Lucknow ke iss Mahabharat mai utarne ka mauka diya".
(I will serve the people of Lucknow. Will wear the soil of Lucknow as the tilak of my forehead. I am thankful towards Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi for providing me with opportunity to fight this battle.)
(With inputs from PTI)