New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is leaving no stones unturned and taking the help of “star power” to increase its tally in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Apart from a host of politicians from the Congress and regional parties, the BJP has managed to bring in many celebrities from the film industry, sports, the scientific community and civil services, who will add to the glamour of the high-pitch campaign launched by its core group of leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath, Sushma Swaraj etc.
Sources said that former Team India manager and acting secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Amitabh Choudhary is in touch with BJP leaders to contest from Ranchi constituency in Jharkhand on a BJP ticket. There is speculation that “Dhak Dhak girl” Madhuri Dixit may join the party and contest elections from Pune, though she has denied it. Party president Amit Shah had met her during his “Sampark for Samarthan” programme.
There are speculations that the BJP may give tickets to popular Bhojpuri stars—Ravi Kishan and Dinesh Lal Yadav (Nirahua)—to contest from eastern UP. The two recently met UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. There is speculation that Ravi Kishan may contest from the Gorakhpur seat.
Former Team India cricketer Gautam Gambhir last week joined the BJP and is likely to be fielded from the high profile New Delhi constituency, replacing sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi. In January, young Bollywood actress Isha Koppikar also joined the BJP. Though the party denied ticket to Bollywood veteran Shatrughan Sinha, it inducted another Bollywood heart-throb Jaya Prada into the party and made her candidate from the Rampur Lok Sabha constituency in UP to take on senior Smajwadi Party leader Azam Khan.
Hema Malini, the “dream girl” of yesteryears, has again been given ticket for the Mathura constituency. Another popular singer Babul Supriyo, who is also a Minister of State at the Centre, has again been given ticket from Asansol in West Bengal.
Paralympian Deepa Mallik also joined the saffron party this week. Mallik, who is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic games, is likely to contest from Haryana. Veteran Bengali actor Biswajeet Chatterjee, who has also acted in many Bollywood films, joined the party last month. Another Bollywood actress Moushumi Chatterjee too joined the BJP.
The BJP has already inducted many other celebrities in lead political roles in the past. Rupa Ganguly, who had played the character of Draupadi in Hindi serial “Mahabharata”, had joined the BJP in 2015 and is now a Rajya Sabha MP from the West Bengal.
Popular Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwari is heading the Delhi unit of BJP and is likely to get ticket from the East Delhi constituency. Yesteryear’s Bollywood actress Poonam Dhillon was recently made the vice president of Mumbai BJP. However, she may not be given ticket. Paresh Rawal successfully won the last elections from Ahmedabad East constituency, though this time he has expressed his intention of not contesting the elections.
Former Odisha Police chief Prakash Misra joined the BJP early this month. Aparajita Sarangi, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Odisha cadre, joined the BJP in November last year. Former Indian Space Research Organisation chief G. Madhavan Nair had joined the BJP in Kerala in October last year.