New Delhi:  Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said that Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Arvind Kejriwal wanted him to join their respective parties but he decided to go with the Congress as it was a national party in the ‘true sense’  and was also advised by ‘family friend’ RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Sinha, who won the Patna Sahib seat back to back in 2009 and 2014 parliamentary polls said an important factor behind joining the grand old party is that the Patna Sahib seat has gone to the Congress quota in the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) seat sharing and he had said that whatever be the situation, the constituency for him to fight the polls would be the same.

“Many people like (TMC chief) Mamata Banerjee, (SP president) Akhilesh Yadav, and (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal among others, wanted me to be in their party. But I had to come to this place because I had said that whatever be the situation, the location will be the same,” Sinha added.

Sinha, in an exclusive interview to PTI, said that it was “painful” for him to leave the BJP with which he has had such a long association, but was disturbed at the treatment meted out by the party to its stalwarts such as L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha. Notably, the BJP has not fielded party veterans in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, Sinha said earlier there was “lokshahi” (democracy) and now there is “tanashahi” (dictatorship) in the BJP. Comparing the during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time with that of PM Modi and Shah, Sinha said,””There used to be collective decision during Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji’s time. There was democracy in the true sense. But now, there is the case of one-man show and two-man army.”

The former BJP MP also appreciated Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said that he is a man to be watched for his vision and dynamism. On being asked if Gandhi could be the next prime minister, Sinha said,” He (Rahul Gandhi) has all the capabilities and it all depends on the blessings of the people and the number of seats Congress gets.”

After the denial of ticket from Patna Sahib, disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha met Rahul Gandhi  last week and is set to formally join the Congress on April 6. Sinha had also showered praise on Congress’ promise of a minimum income guarantee scheme ‘NYAY’ under which Rs. 72,000 will be given to 20 per cent of India’s poorest families every year.

Calling the scheme a masterstroke, the actor-turned-politician said, “It’s a masterstroke by the ‘master of situation’, Rahul Gandhi – declaring Minimum Income Guarantee scheme. It has rattled our people so much that some of our prominent people had to rush for a press conference, calling the whole declaration/ announcement “chhal kapat (sic),” he tweeted.