Putting forward a different battle for values, Actor-turned politician Prakash Raj is confidently pitching a battle on Bengaluru Central parliamentary constituency. As an independent candidate he is against both mainstream alliances led by BJP and Congress.
Prakash Raj is a 54-year-old actor-turned-politician, who will be making a debut in electoral politics by contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Central Bengaluru constituency. The multilingual actor has been a vocal critic of Right-wing politics and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre.
He has already covered almost all parts of the constituency by this time. He completed a first round visit on eight assembly constituencies - Shivajinagar, Shantinagar, Gandhinagar, arvagnanagar, Chamarajpet, Rajajinagar, Mahadevpura, CV Raman Nagar - that constitute the Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituency. During his campaign he mainly voiced against Modi: “Narendra Modi is finally realising that people are not fools. People have understood the agenda of this government. These past five years have been very chaotic – marked with a prevalent hysteria. Modi started out as a performer, but could only offer baseless narratives to the people.”
Prakash Raj has already received the support of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in his bid to be elected from Bengaluru Central constituency. AAP will not be fielding a candidate in Bengaluru Central constituency and is actively backing Prakash Raj. He has also already secured the support of many civil societies. Among them, the Whitefield Rising [a citizens’ collective] is a major pillar of support for the actor.
The actor is engaged in public interaction as much as he can. And at many locations he was said to have mobbed by commonfolks. Prakash had campaigned for Congress leader and former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in the Assembly elections held in May 2018. So, Prakash Raj personally wished for the Congress-JD(S) support for his candidature, but unfortunately Congress-JD(S) coalition fielded a candidate of their own.
The constituency is a mix of affluent, middle class and slum-dwelling voters who speak a number of languages including Tamil and Telugu in addition to Kannada. But Prakash Raj is more focusing on the poor people’s vote. "The people living here in the by-lanes, the ones who are poor, they are the ones who will vote more than the educated, college-going people living here. There are elected representatives who have not visited them and we need to change this," he was quoted as saying.
Prakash Raj already made an auto campaign to all eight assembly constituencies to interview residents and compile information on what they are looking for from their elected representatives.
This time too the sitting MP, PC Mohan, is seeking a hattrick for BJP after having won the seat since it went to polls for the first time in 2009. In 2014, with the Modi wave strongly behind him, he won by a wider margin of 1,30,000 votes as opposed to near-40,000 in 2009.
While the Congress candidate Rizwan Arshad, who was fielded last time too, will be helped by the JD(S) support, popular multi-lingual actor Prakash Raj is a notable third entrant in the race. He is expected to split the votes, according to political observers.
What traction Prakash Raj can get in a place remains to be seen. Bengaluru has been relatively less receptive to film stars as politicians compared to its neighbouring states such as Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.