New Delhi: Actor Sunny Deol joined the ruling BJP today, days after he met with party president Amit Shah. He is likely to be the BJP candidate from Gurdaspur in Punjab.
“Like my father joined Atal Bihari Vajpayee, I have decided to go with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I want PM Modi for the next five years,” said the actor in a short speech.
Welcoming him to the party, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman referred to his blockbuster 1997 movie Border based on an episode from the India-Pakistan of 1971. “Sunny Deol made the film Border which showed how the feeling of nationalism and patriotism when portrayed beautifully on film can touch a cord with the people,” Sitharaman said.
“It cannot be acting when it comes from the heart,” added Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
Sunny Deol’s last movie was Mohalla Assi, shot in Modi’s Varanasi constituency. His character was shown participating in kar seva (volunteer) for the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
After his meeting with Amit Shah last week, Sunny Deol had been non-committal. “I heard about the rumours that I am joining politics. I just met him (Amit Shah) and we took a photograph, that’s it,” he had said.
The BJP, which has an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, is fighting three of the 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab: Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.
Gurdaspur was the constituency of veteran actor Vinod Khanna, who died in 2017. There was a buzz for some time that the BJP may field his wife Kavita Khanna or son Akshaye Khanna from there.
Sunny Deol, 62, is best known for his action hero roles in films like Ghayal, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, Damini and Border.
He is the third Deol to join politics – and the BJP – after Dharmendra and his wife Hema Malini, also veteran actors.
Dharmendra had a brief stint in politics about 10 years ago, when he contested the 2004 national election from Rajasthan’s Bikaner on a BJP ticket and won. Hema Malini is fighting for re-election from Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura.