Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, who was recently conferred the Padma Bhushan by the Narendra Modi-led government, has made it clear that he will not join politics or contest elections. The statement comes amid public offers by BJP leaders in Kerala to give the actor a ticket to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Thiruvananthapuram.
“Politics is not my cup of tea. I always want to remain an actor. I enjoy the freedom I have in this profession. In politics, a lot of people depend on you and it’s not easy. Also, it’s not a subject that I know a lot about and so, I have no inclination whatsoever,” the actor told The Times of India newspaper. He is currently shooting in Hyderabad for the film ‘Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham’.
Rumours about the actor entering the political arena had strengthened after O Rajagopal, the BJP’s sole MLA in the state Assembly, admitted that the party was trying to coerce Mohanlal into contesting elections on party ticket in Thiruvanathapuram, where it fancies its chances at winning.
Rajagopal, who was the BJP candidate in the seat in 2014, had gone down to Congress’ Shashi Tharoor by 15,000 votes after leading in four of the seven Assembly segments. Thiruvananthapuram, a largely urban seat with high concentration of Hindu votes, is seen to be the BJP’s best bet at winning it’s first ever Lok Sabha seat from the southern state. Central leaders as well as senior pracharaks of the RSS have warned state leaders to stop internal squabbling and focus it’s entire energy on winning the seat.
One of the first indications of the actor’s closeness to the BJP-RSS leadership in Kerala was when he visited PM Modi in New Delhi in September last year. He had met the prime minister to apprise him of the social initiatives undertaken by the ViswaSanthi foundation that he helms. The organisation works for underprivileged sections in the fields of healthcare and education.
On the occasion of Republic Day last month, when the actor was announced as one of the recipients of the Padmabhushan award for his work in cinema, it was yet another indication that the actor could be fielded by the BJP. Unlike his contemporary Mammootty, known for his closeness to the CPM leadership in Kerala, Mohanlal has largely stayed away from publicly stating his political affiliations.
The rare occasion when Mohanlal attended a political campaign in the state was when he spoke in favour of Ganesh Kumar, an actor-politician who was nominated by the LDF in the Pathanapuram constituency in the 2016 Assembly elections. Mohanlal had then referred to Kumar as his ‘younger brother’ at the public rally. When results came, Kumar had beaten his nearest opponent by 25,000 votes, largely seen as the result of Mohanlal’s public endorsement for him.