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Barely days after a Youth Congress magazine published a meme calling Narendra Modi a "chaiwala" (tea vendor), BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha on Thursday yet again invoked the jibe against the Prime Minister.
Taking potshots at his detractors within his own party, the famous Bollywood actor wondered if others can do whatever they are doing despite not being specialists, why can he not speak on the economy.
He said he is repeatedly questioned by few people as to what qualification he has to speak on economy as he comes from a film background.
"If 'vakeel babu' (an allusion to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) can speak on finance, if a TV actress can become the country's HRD minister and if a chaiwala can become... I wouldn't say any further... why can't I speak on the economy," Sinha said in snide remarks at book launch here.ALSO READ: Modi chaiwala meme: BJP worked up, Congress in spot ahead of Gujarat polls
Modi has himself said that he used to sell tea along with his father at their small tea stall in Gujarat before he joined politics.
Taking potshots at Modi, Sinha said he had been drawn towards "healthy politics" inspired by Ram Manohar Lohia, and that he had no intentions of becoming a minister.
"I am speaking from my heart though it is not mann ki baat because someone else has a patent for 'Mann ki Baat' (as Modi's monthly radio programme is called)," he said amid laughter.
"Some people say I speak against my own government's policies because I was not made a minister. To be honest I neither have any desire nor any expectations to become a minister. Even those who are ministers today have no standing of their own.
They are busy flattering the master to save their skins and seats."ALSO READ: Congress gets slammed over youth wing's 'chaiwala' jibe at PM Modi
"I was drawn towards a healthy politics inspired by Lohia. I had not come to politics with the motto of 'Na jiyunga na jeene dunga' (I would neither live in peace myself, nor let others live in peace)," Sinha said in a clear parody to Prime Minister Modi's oft-repeated "Na khaoonga na khane doonga" (I will neither take bribe nor let others do) remark.
He said that the atmosphere in the country was such that "either you are with me or you are anti-national".
"What is happening in this country? Cow vigilantes are killing people, intellectuals, writers, journalists... and now even judges are being killed. 'Aaj dhan shakti jan shakti par bhari hai' (Today, money power is stronger than people's power). And then if people like me come forward, we have attributed motives, we are questioned."
Sinha said that demonetisation has rendered millions jobless, factories have been shut, small traders, hawkers are out of work and GST is like "neem chadha karela" (bitter gourd is doubly bitter now).
"If I do not speak for the youth, for the poor and downtrodden, for the oppressed, then what am I doing in politics?" he asked.He also made fun of ministers in the Modi government, calling them a "bunch of sycophants" 90 per cent of whom were hardly known to people. "The atmosphere nowadays is such that either you support a person or be ready to be called anti-national," the outspoken Lok Sabha member from Patna Sahib said in an obvious assault on the prime minister. The actor-politician also targeted the dispensations running the government and the party organisation, calling them a "one-man army" and a "two-man show", a barb apparently aimed at Modi and Amit Shah. "It (the government) is a bunch of sycophants. Ninety per cent of ministers are those who you (people) don't know. They are here not to do something creative or constructive....they are just busy saving their jobs," he said addressing a book release function here.