Prakash Raj has announced that he will contest as an independent candidate in the 2019 parliamentary elections. He tweeted a play on what has been Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of choice during the 2014 election campaign, replacing ‘Modi Sarkar [Modi’s government]’ with ‘Janatha ki Sarkar [people’s rule]’. More details will be revealed soon.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE..a new beginning .. more responsibility.. with UR support I will be contesting in the coming parliament elections as an INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE. Details of the constituency soon. Ab ki baar Janatha ki SARKAR #citizensvoice #justasking in parliament too..
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) December 31, 2018
Prakash Raj has been hinting at his entry into politics for more than a year now. He has opposed the ruling AIADMK government on many occasions, and has probably been the only non-politician actor to be extremely critical of right-wing Hindutva politics, especially after the murder of his friend and journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Last year, on January 1, he said he will contest elections if someone challenges him to. He said, “Of late, communal politics is gaining importance in the country… We must not let this happen. If someone challenges me to take a plunge into politics, I am ready for it.”
In November he said he was against the idea of actors turning politicians. He didn’t name anyone, but he said, “I don’t like actors joining politics because they are actors and have fans. They should always stay aware of their responsibility towards them.” He further said, “I’m not joining any political party.”
He has mentioned several times that he does not favour any political party. He has been campaigning using the hashtag #JustAsking, something he started during Karnataka elections last year to ask questions to pro-Karnataka organisations, and to encourage people to ask questions.
He slammed the AIADMK government during Sterlite protests and Sarkar controversy. He criticised the Modi government about the Sabarimala issue, for not helping during the floods, and during many other occasions. He was one of the few to condemn the attack on JNU student Umar Khalid. He has actively supported the #MeToo movement in the film industry.
He has also said that ever since he started questioning the Modi government, unlike south Indian film industries, Bollywood hasn’t offered him any role in ads or films. “The more I question, the more attempts to silence me, be it character assassination, threat or trying to stop my work… it’s the BJP.”
From the Tamil industry, Kamal Haasan has said he will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam last year. Rajinikanth and Vishal have said they will contest in the 2021 general elections in Tamil Nadu.