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Puneeth said no to politics, did not charge money for social campaigns

Puneeth maintained distance from politics while having cordial relations with leaders from all political parties.
harath Joshi
Last Updated : 30 October 2021, 03:06 IST
Last Updated : 30 October 2021, 03:06 IST
Last Updated : 30 October 2021, 03:06 IST
Last Updated : 30 October 2021, 03:06 IST

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Sandalwood star Puneeth Rajkumar was a sought-after celebrity for the government to promote various social causes. However, the actor consciously resisted attempts to get him into politics.

Over the years, Puneeth endorsed the Right to Education (RTE), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Nandini milk, election franchise (right to vote) among other social initiatives.

In March 2020, Puneeth was roped in by the government as the development ambassador for the backward Chamarajanagar district.

In June this year, the government got Puneeth to create awareness on Covid-19 precautions and vaccination.

“He was always available for all government initiatives and awareness campaigns for which he never charged a single penny,” IPS officer Isha Pant, deputy commissioner of police (command centre), said in a tweet. “For the Bengaluru City Police Twitter handle, too, he did so many awareness videos with his charismatic smile always on his face.”

For the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2018 Assembly elections, Puneeth was featured by the Election Commission, with the actor urging citizens to vote. That was the closest he would get to politics.

“We tried much to bring him into politics. But, Puneeth would not let his mind be changed on this,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar said, remembering Puneeth as his childhood friend and neighbour in Sadashivanagar. “We spent 8-10 years in the Affinity gym in the locality.”

Like his siblings Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar - also actors - Puneeth maintained distance from politics while having cordial relations with leaders from all political parties.

Puneeth’s sister-in-law Geetha (Shivarajkumar’s wife) is, perhaps, the only member of the Rajkumar household to have an active political life. Geetha, former chief minister S Bangarappa’s daughter, had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Shimoga as the JD(S) candidate. Puneeth did not campaign for her.

In fact, Puneeth issued a public statement in March 2019 asking people to keep him away from politics. “I have nothing to do with politics...As an actor, I identify myself with the arts and not politics,” Puneeth had said, in response to speculation that he would campaign for Sumalatha Ambareesh in the 2019 Mandya Lok Sabha poll.

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Published 29 October 2021, 15:05 IST

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