Shatrughan Sinha's comment that the BJP has been given "triple talaaq" by Rajasthan in the recent by-elections did not hit the right note with Babul Supriyo. But dismissing singer-turned-parliamentarian's dissent, the veteran actor says humour is vital in politics.
Shatrughan had made the "triple talaaq" comment in his typical quipster's style.
To that, Supriyo commented: "Shatrughan Sinha ji ko bolta hu aapko itni nafrat hai to kyun roz aake sansad mein baithte hain? Kyun aisi situation paida karte hain ki dusro ko bolna pade 'khamosh'. Dressing room ki baat wahin rehni chahiye. Aap teen talaq dijiye aur khud chhod dijiye BJP. (If you have so much hatred, why do you come to the parliament everyday? Why do you create a situation where people need to say 'silence' to you?... You give triple talaaq and leave the BJP.)"
Not one to take the put-down lying down, Shatrughan has said: "Babul abhi bachcha hai. Naya josh hai wafadaari dikhane ka (He is a child right now. He wants to show his loyalty). But his level of sycophancy is sickening.
"I've been in politics from before he was born. And I was part of the film industry from before he was even a thought. He should think about whom he's telling to be 'khamosh' and why he's doing it.
"I can understand his eagerness to please the powers-that-be. After all, he was given a ministerial portfolio, albeit a completely useless one, which he got on the basis of a mercy-petition case. He is like one of those upstarts on the sets of one of my films who tries to make his presence felt by waving and hand and jumping up and down when the camera rolls."
Shatrughan said he was trying to inject humour into what he sees as a grim situation with his "triple talaaq" comment.
"First of all, Babul must understand that humour is an essential part of politics. If we don't laugh about what is going on in the country, we will die crying.
"Secondly, what does he mean by dressing room conversation? Are we all naked and waiting to put on our clothes while Babul the Great gives us all a dressing-down in our dressing-room? And don't forget, you've been going around looking for work in the same dressing rooms of showbiz, if that's what you mean by 'dressing room ki baat'.
"So next time before telling me to be 'khamosh', think about what you are saying before the nation tells you to be 'khamosh'. People are hurt, wounded and betrayed. Politics of sycophancy won't work."
Supriyo chose to react by saying: "As a respected and a revered artist, it won't be unfair to expect some decorum from Shatruji. He can't continue to make provocative potshots at the top leadership and party you represent in the parliament.
"Though triple talaaq is illegal, I guess we will 'qubool' it should he decide to resign from the party. This is my strong personal view as a BJP loyalist and not as a minister."