New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his recent interview with news agency ANI. Slamming the PM over ‘well scripted, choreographed, well researched and rehearsed TV interview’, the actor-turned-politician asked, “Isn’t it high time and the right time to enhance your image as an able and capable leader taking candid extempore questions?”

Sinha’s barb comes a day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a press conference where he trained guns at PM Modi terming the interview “staged” and that it was conducted by a “pliable journalist”.

“We know you don’t want to face them but at least have the courage to answer questions from the tall statesman Yashwant Sinha and learned journalist Arun Shourie. Though you came across cool and composed in your interview, it was not as convincing or at par with your earlier performances. In the past all Hon’ble PMs have had Press Conferences but Sir, you haven’t had even one in your tenure of 4.5 yrs. Why Sir? Let’s have genuine journalists without the ‘Sarkari’ mindset and not your regular ‘Raag Darbari’ clan,” he tweeted.

Hitting out further, he posted, “Are you uncomfortable to face/take on TV anchor, journalist Ravish Kumar and consulting editor, The Wire, Vinod Dua? Why are different people leaving us despite ‘Sab ka Saath Sab ka  Vikas’, ‘Ram Janam Bhoomi’ etc.? Let’s come clean in the New Year, being bold, honest and transparent without dramatic effects. I very humbly suggest as a friend, colleague and brother this food for thought. Accept it, good for you and the nation, but if you reject it then may God Bless us. Elections are around the corner, Sir. Long Live Democracy! Jai Hind!”

Meanwhile, responding to Sinha’s tweet, ANI Editor, News, Smita Prakash asked the BJP leader to be a hero and tag PM Modi. “Sir if the tweet is for Mr Modi be the hero that you used to be and tag him no? Buzdilon ki tarah ek tuch patrakaar ko kyon tag kar rahein hain? Aap Shotgun hain, Saamba nahiin (Why are you tagging a small journalist like a coward? You are Shotgun, not Saamba).”

On the first day of 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on a range of contentious and politically-crucial issues ranging from Ram temple to the controversy over the Rafale fighter jet deal.

In the 95-minute long exclusive interview to news agency ANI, broadcast by various television channels, PM Modi talked about a host of issues including the surgical strikes, cross-border terrorism, upcoming Lok Sabha elections and personal attacks on him by the Congress.