Will Shatrughan Sinha, popularly called ‘Shotgun’, take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi in next year’s Lok Sabha elections? Top Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders hinted on Thursday that the party could field the Bollywood actor in the temple town.

Shatrughan, along with former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, attended a programme to mark the birth anniversary of Jaiprakash Narain hosted by SP at its office here on Thursday. Both launched a tirade against BJP and Modi at the programme. SP leaders went into a huddle soon to discuss the possibility of fielding the actor, party sources said.

Shatrughan, known for his direct attacks on the PM on several issues, has been looking for a safe seat for the 2019 elections. Sources in SP said that the party may consider offering him a ticket if he quits the BJP ahead of the polls. Political watchers said Shatrughan has a large following in Varanasi, which is adjacent to his home state Bihar. The rebel BJP MP also has a lot of ‘kayasth’ supporters in Varanasi

Varanasi saw an outpouring of emotions recently in the wake of the recent spate of attacks on migrants from UP and Bihar in Gujarat. Even posters denouncing Modi were found in many places in his constituency.