Navneet Kaur Rana, the NCP candidate from Amravati, is an actress who has romanced the likes of Captain Vijaykanth and Mamooty on the screen, and a well-known disciple of Baba Ramdev. Navneet, 27, is contesting against the Shiv Sena’s Anandrao Adsul, the sitting MP.
She is the wife of Ravi Rana, Badnera’s independent MLA, who is better known as “Flex Kumar” for his penchant for putting up flex posters with his pictures across the town.
What makes her candidature interesting is the fact that despite being a close associate of Ramdev, whom she addresses as “father” and who has criticised the UPA-led alliance, Rana has managed to get a ticket from the NCP.
Her nomination has, however, not gone down well with local NCP leaders who have questioned the logic of supporting the wife of a man who took the party on in the 2009 assembly elections and defeated Sulabha Khodke, former MLA and wife of NCP general secretary Sanjay Khodke who is close to Sharad Pawar. Khodke has publicly stated he is not going to campaign for Rana.
The actress also faces allegations of using false records to claim a Scheduled Caste certificate for contesting from Amravati, which is a reserved seat.
Besides, she is the target of personal attacks, with doctored and offensive pictures being circulated on the social media. “This is the conspiracy of my opponents who are afraid of defeat,” Navneet says.
Born into a Punjabi family, she was brought up in Mumbai and started acting in 2004, in a Kannada film. “I have worked with film stars such a sVijaykanth, Junior NTR and Mamooty. I am proficient in seven languages,” an exultant Navneet says on the phone.
A chance meeting with Ramdev seems to have changed her life. The yoga practitioner is said to have played a major role in her marriage to Ravi Rana, who organises yoga camps in the locality.
The two met during one such camp and it was apparently Ramdev himself who encouraged them to get married. They did so in 2011 in a mass wedding of 3,000 couples.
Navneet sees no contradiction in a Ramdev disciple being a NCP candidate, though she is noncommital whether Ramdev will campaign for her. “He is like a father to me. We have his blessings. No father will wish ill of his own child,” she says.