Actor-turned politician, Prakash Raj said that he wanted to be a voice of the people and would not be averse to joining hands with secular forces as an Independent, should the situation arise as he spelt out his plans for his political journey.
The 53-year-old started the New Year with the announcement that he will contest the Lok Sabha election later this year as an independent candidate, marking his entry into the electoral arena.
And, on January 5, the Iruvar actor said on Twitter he will contest from the Bengaluru Central constituency, a move that marked the culmination of his activism over the past year, especially through his #JustAsking campaign.
#2019 PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.Thank you for the warm n encouraging response to my new journey.. I will be contesting from BENGALURU CENTRAL constituency #KARNATAKA as an INDEPENDENT..will share the Details with the media in few days..#citizensvoice #justasking in parliament too… pic.twitter.com/wJN4WaHlZP
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) January 5, 2019
The multi-lingual actor said though he had decided against entering politics after he travelled across the state during the assembly elections in May last year, he had come to reconsider that stand in the intervening months because he felt the people’s voice had to be heard.
“Why contest as an Independent? If I get into any political party I know I won’t survive for three months, so why join,” he said.
“Today, any parliamentarian who stands for a party, who gets lakhs of votes, the minute they go to Delhi they become one vote for their party. Hence, I decided on being an Independent to become a questioning, rational voice,” he said, adding that he could no longer “just be asking but answering, too”.
Raj aired many misgivings against political parties that had prevented him from joining such organisations. “They are trying to protect each other and nobody is interested in the people,” he said, adding later that “everybody was a thief”.
“In any country, when communalism rises people will oppose it. If there is a group of people opposing communalism then why not join them as an Independent? It is important to stand against communalism but why join a party for that,” Raj said expressing his willingness to join hands with the Mahagathbandhan being formed by opposition parties.
Raj has been a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru last year, Raj had claimed that there he was being offered a fewer number of films as a result of his political activism. The National Award-winning actor has said earlier that his increasing political activity was sparked by the murder of a close friend and journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was gunned down in front of her Bengaluru house on September 5, 2017.
“Politics of Ram Mandir is being played in AC rooms of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow. I challenge the media to visit Ayodhya and see how people there are living on the streets. Is this the Ram Rajya they want to bring?” told ANI.
Raj said his choice of the constituency was dictated by the fact that he was born, brought up and educated in central Bengaluru. “My first foray into theatre and cinema were made here as well,” Raj said. “My childhood friends, relatives, everybody is here. I decided to come back to my roots when I decided on entering politics.”