A BJP-LED campaign in support of actor Kangana Ranaut in Himachal Pradesh in recent days has earned the party the favour of Ranaut’s family members, who have traditionally been Congress supporters.
A recent video interview of her mother Asha Ranaut profusely thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah has triggered media reports speculating about the actor’s or her mother’s entry into the BJP. In the video, Asha said that despite her family not being connected to BJP and being part of Congress since the time of Kangana’s great-grandfather, Shah had agreed to provide security to her daughter.
Himachal state BJP president Suresh Kashyap told The Indian Express that Asha has so far only expressed gratitude to Modi, Shah and the government for providing security cover to her daughter, and has not mentioned any decision by her or any of her family members about joining BJP.
Kangana’s family is based in Bhambla village in Sarkaghat Assembly constituency of Mandi district. BJP MLA Col Inder Singh from the constituency said that the actor’s father Amardeep Ranaut, a businessperson, is his “fast friend” and the family has already been supporting him in politics. Singh, a three-time MLA, has been representing the constituency since 2007, but before that, the area was a Congress bastion with INC’s Rangila Ram Rao winning the Assembly elections seven times.
Kangana’s great-grandfather Sarju Singh Ranaut too was a Congress leader and a member of the Legislative Assembly, Singh said.
Last week, Kangana’s father and sister approached Singh and and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur amid alleged security concerns for the actor, following which the state government was quick to deploy police security at her residence in Manali.
The central government, meanwhile, deployed a CRPF team for her security.
On Wednesday, following reports of the demolition in Mumbai’s Bandra, several MLAs discussed the incident in the ongoing monsoon session of the state Assembly, expressing support for Kangana and “concern for her security”. Speaking in the House, the chief minister asked the Maharashtra government “to take no such step which would pose a threat to Kangana’s safety”.
The BJP has also been organising protests and rallies in the state against the Maharashtra government and in support of Ranaut, with BJP Mahila Morcha President Rashim Dhar Sood even threatening to demolish “Congress’ daughter’s” property in Himachal, apparently referring to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s house in Shimla.
On Thursday, BJP-led demonstrators tried to demolish a disputed commercial property in Kullu in front of a hotel owned by Congress MLA Sunder Singh Thakur, leading to an altercation between members of the two parties.
During the Assembly session, members of the Congress supported the need to ensure Kangana’s security, but asked BJP to refrain from commenting on the privilege motion against her in the Maharashtra Assembly, and also the demolition incident since the matter is sub-judice.
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