The Kangana campaign: Visiting temples, obliging selfie requests, jabbing rivals

04:41 PM May 05, 2024 | PTI |

Shimla: Actor Kangana Ranaut, who is the first Bollywood celebrity to contest Lok Sabha elections from Himachal Pradesh, has been maintaining a distance with the media during campaign but has been welcoming to common voters: dancing with them at times, interacting in their dialects and obliging to their selfie requests.


She has so far been concentrating on small gatherings and roadshows, where people first try to get a glimpse of her from close quarters and then potentially get clicked with the ”Queen” star.

Selfies and group photos with the actor, who has been fielded by the BJP from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, are in vogue as it is the first time a celebrity is contesting elections in Himachal Pradesh.

Videos of Ranaut, who hails from Mandi, dancing with local women and sweeping temple premises during her campaign have gone viral. To forge an instant connect, she often interacts with her prospective voters in their dialects and emphasises that she a daughter of Mandi.

Known for her unfiltered remarks, Ranaut has given some media bites but not yet offered them an interaction involving questions and answers.


BJP leaders say her typical campaign day starts with paying obeisance at the temples of local deities. She focuses on the women voters, who comprise about 49 percent of the total voters of the state, and the youth.

She has said she would ensure women and men are ”equal in all spheres”.

Ranaut, who often voiced pro-BJP opinions even before she joined the party and was fielded from Mandi, bashes Congress leaders for their alleged anti-women remarks and talks derisively about dynastic politics.

At a recent poll rally in Manali, which falls under the Mandi Parliament seat, Ranaut indirectly attacked Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Vikramaditya Singh by saying there is one ”Bada Pappu” in Delhi and a ”Chhota Pappu” here.

Himachal Pradesh’s Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh, a scion of the erstwhile Rampur estate, is her challenger from the Mandi Parliament seat. He is son of six-time chief minister late Virbhadra Singh and the current state Congress president Pratibha Singh.

Ranaut often uses the term ”Shezada” to attack Vikramaditya Singh and takes digs at him by repeatedly asserting that, unlike him, she is not in politics because of her father or mother.

She has said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an ”ansh” of Lord Ram and Vishnu and claims that she would work like people’s postwoman, taking their issues and problems to New Delhi.

But some people, like Mahesh who is a senior citizen from Sundernagar, feel that Ranaut’s personal attacks and snide remarks against her rivals might not go down well with voters in Himachal Pradesh even though they might be getting cheers from the crowd.

”Such kinds of politics and insulting remarks do not resonate with people in Dev Bhoomi Himachal,” Mahesh said.

The Mandi Parliament seat comprises 17 assembly seats, eight are reserved for Schedule Tribe and Schedule caste. These seats include Chamba district’s three tribal assembly constituencies — Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Bharmour; Kullu district’s all four assembly segments — Kullu, Manali, Banjar and Anni; Mandi district’s nine assembly constituencies — Sundernagar, Balh, Mandi, Darang, Jogindernagar, Nachan, Seraj, Karsog and Sarkaghat; and Rampur in Shimla district.

By Bhanu P Lohumi


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