How Khushboo's entry will help BJP to strengthen its star power in the South
New Delhi, Oct 12: Actor-turned-politician Khushboo Sundar is the latest entrant in the star-studded BJP which has more than half a dozen parliamentarians who were household names for their silver screen presence before entering the political arena.
Prominent Bollywood stars Sunny Deol, Hema Malini, Kirron Kher, Bengali actresses Rupa Ganguli and Locket Chatterjee, and the Bhojpuri film industry's Ravi Kishan and Manoj Tiwari are MPs who got elected on BJP tickets.
There are many others, such as actor Paresh Rawal, who may not be active in the party's day to day affairs but are its members and never hesitate in hitting the ground for its cause.
Not limiting its star power to Bollywood, the party has given equal importance to celebrities from regional film industries as well.
Stars from local film industries are more influential in their respective states and regions and can help the party in swaying votes in their favour, political observers feel.
As many as 12 film and television stars from West Bengal had joined the BJP in July last year. The development was significant as the party has left no stone unturned to dethrone the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC in the eastern state.
BJP had won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the general elections last year. Of those elected on the party's ticket were Chatterjee and Babul Supriyo, who is now a Union Minister, both from the Bengali film industry.
Political observes feel it is the strategy of the BJP to get film personalities on board from the regions and states where it has not been a force to reckon with and Khushbhoo's entry also suggests the same.
With the South Indian actress now becoming a party member, the BJP is aiming to use the popularity of film stars to strengthen its position in Tamil Nadu where it is still to make any mark electorally.
The country's Southern and Eastern states are the two regions where the BJP has been focussing on expanding its footprint. It has substantial presence in Northern and Western regions of the country. Therefore, the entry of more film personalities from these two regions into the BJP is expected in the coming days.
Interestingly, in 2005 Khushboo's remarks on premarital sex and virginity had set off a major controversy and taken political colour. The Supreme Court had in 2010 quashed 22 criminal cases against her for allegedly endorsing pre-marital sex through her remarks.