Lucknow, Jan.18 (ANI): Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, who wants to contest upcoming Indian parliament elections from Lucknow, said on Saturday that he would not fight against former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Vajpayee, who is a lawmaker from Lucknow, is not expected to contest owing to deteriorating health.
Dutt, who was convicted in connection with India's worst -ever Mumbai serial blasts case in 1993 would be a candidate of regional Samajwadi Party, a key ally of the ruling Congress party.
Addressing a news conference in Lucknow along with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, general secretary Amar Singh and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, Dutt said that the party leadership would take the appropriate decision in case he is unable to contest.
"If I am unable to contest, then our leader (Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief of India's socialist Samajwadi Party) and Amar Singh (General secretary of Samajwadi Party) will decide. About Atalji (India's former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee), I would say I respect him a lot. And if he contests, our leader (Mulayam Singh) and Amar Singh, have already told me that, you being the younger don't fight the election opposite him," said Dutt.
Earlier, the 49-year-old actor, clad in perfect 'Indian politician attire' - in a white colour Kurta Pyjama (India's traditional men's wear) and politicians cap received a rousing welcome from his fans and party supporters in Lucknow.
Dutt is the son of actor and former Congress minister Sunil Dutt. His sister Priya is a lawmaker of the lower house of parliament who won from the seat, which fell vacant after their father's death.
Their mother, Nargis, had also been a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha or upper house of parliament.
Dutt thanked the SP chief for showing confidence I him.
"Blood of Sunil Dutt (father of Sanjay Dutt and actor-turned politician) and Nargis Dutt (mother of Sanjay Dutt and Bollywood actor), who have done a lot for the nation, flows in me. I will try to make them proud. I am thankful to our leader (Mulayam Singh) and Amar Singh, for the confidence they have shown in me," he said.
Introducing Manoj Tiwari, who will contest the upcoming general elections from northern Gorakhpur, Mulayam Singh Yadav thanked the people of Lucknow for the unprecedented welcome.
"Today you have in front of you Sanjay Dutt, candidate from Lucknow, and Gorakhpur candidate Manoj Tiwari, who is a famous Bhojpuri (vernacular language) singer. We welcome both of them. I am happy that today people of Lucknow have given them an unprecedented welcome," said Yadav.
The actor is best known for his turn in "Lage Raho Munnabhai," (Carry on Munnabhai) a comedy about a gangster espousing Gandhian values that was adjudged the best popular film at the National Film Awards for 2006.
The beefy action hero was convicted in 2007 for taking an AK-56 rifle and a pistol from gangsters linked to the 1993 bombings in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed.
Dutt, who was sentenced to six years in prison, challenged the conviction and is currently out on bail.
Political parties have often fielded Bollywood actors in elections, hoping to cash in on their popular appeal.
Media reports said Dutt's sister Priya was not happy with his decision to contest elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Dutt has denied rumours of a rift in the family.(ANI)