BJP ropes in Bhojpuri actors to woo voters

Ravi Kishan. PTI file photo

The BJP is banking on the popularity of some of Bhojpuri film industry's biggest stars to see it through a clutch of Lok Sabha seats in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The saffron outfit is tapping film stars Ravi Kishan, singer-actor Dinesh Lal Yadav alias 'Nirahua' and Pawan Singh and they are expected to contest elections from seats in eastern UP and West Bengal, which have Bhojpuri voters, party insiders said.

Singh is already in the BJP, while Yadav joined the party on Wednesday in Lucknow in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The BJP already has Manoj Tiwari, a well-known Bhojpuri actor-cum-singer, in its fold. Tiwari, who joined the BJP in 2013, currently heads the party's Delhi unit.

"All big stars of the Bhojpuri film industry like Manoj Tiwari, Ravi Kishan, Nirahua, Pawan Singh are with the BJP and they will be unstoppable in the elections," said Mumbai BJP general secretary Amarjeet Mishra.

Kishan has already started campaigning in Jaunpur though the BJP has not yet announced its candidate for the seat in eastern UP.

The actor said he is going to contest from Jaunpur and maintained he has been involved in taking up social causes for quite some time.

"Everyone knows me and my work, especially the people of eastern UP. I expressed my willingness to contest the election and I am thankful to Modiji, Amit Shahji and Yogiji who decided to give me a chance to serve the people of eastern UP," Kishan told PTI on phone from UP.

Asked whether star power can fetch Bhojpuri voters and defeat rival candidates, he said, "We (stars) only need to go among the voters and spread the vision (of Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji."

The 50-year-old actor unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from UP in 2014 as a Congress candidate.

Mishra recently facilitated meetings of Kishan and Yadav with Adityanath and also Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

He said eastern UP as well as large parts of Bihar and adjoining West Bengal have Bhojpuri-speaking voters, who are a big fan of these popular actors.

Chhattisgarh and Mumbai, too, have a substantial number of Bhojpuri-speaking people, he said.

The Mumbai BJP general secretary is also vice-chairman of the Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation Ltd (MFSCDCL), a post which carries Minister of State rank. 

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