Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, the sitting BJP MP from Patna Sahib who has been denied a ticket by the party this time, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of treating party patriarch L K Advani in a "painful" and "shameful" manner.
In a series of tweets on March 23, Sinha claimed that the BJP's decision to not give ticket to Advani, the sitting MP from Gandhinagar, and to field party president Amit Shah from the seat "has not gone down well" with many people.
"Sirji... it is worrisome, painful and according to some even shameful... that which your people have done was the most expected and awaited... orchestrating the departure of a most respected friend, philosopher, guide, father figure and ultimate leader of the party, Shri L K Advani from the political arena/election," Sinha tweeted.
Advani, 91, has served as Union home minister and deputy prime minister. He was also the national president of the BJP more than once. He is often credited with helping the party create a national footprint within a decade of its formation through active participation in the Ayodhya movement.
In another tweet, Sinha deplored "the replacement of Mr Advani by none other than the man who is also the president of the party and whose image or personality is no match nor even a patch on him".
"This has been done intentionally and deliberately and not gone down well with the people of the country," the rebel BJP leader claimed.
"No one can approve of such a treatment to a father figure. What you and your people have done to me is still tolerable. I am able and capable of answering your people back in the same coin. Remember Newton's third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction," Sinha, who has been a vocal critic of the BJP, said.
Once considered a hardliner, Advani's decline began after he fell out of favour with the BJP's parent body, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) following his appreciation of "secular" personality of Pakistan founder Mohd Ali Jinnah in 2005.
His standing within the party diminished further after he fell out with Modi, whom he had mentored. Advani had also backed Modi when the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted him gone as Gujarat chief minister in the aftermath of 2002 Godhra riots.
Sinha said the party's decision to deny ticket to Advani "smacks of ingratitude".
"Nonetheless, people are watching at this hour to give a befitting reply for all this that is being done by the one man show and two men army," he said, taking a swipe at Modi and Shah.
Responding to Sinha, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also took to Twitter to offer "free" and "friendly" advice to his party colleague on Sunday.
He said Sinha would do well to "leave the electoral battle and join the Yashwant club", referring to the former Union minister who had been critical of the current BJP leadership and quit the party last year to concentrate on activism.
"Patna Sahib has five assembly segments, all held by the BJP, and you may struggle to even find a polling agent," the Bihar deputy chief minister said, referring to the possibility of Sinha seeking re-election as a nominee of the Opposition alliance in the state.