Kannada actor-turned-politician Upendra on Tuesday announced his decision to quit the Karnataka Prajnavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP), a party he helped establish last year ahead of the assembly elections in the state. The KPJP president told this to the media after he held a meeting with his supporters at his ‘Ruppis’ resort located on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
“My supporters and I have decided to quit KPJP. We won’t have anything to do with that party from now on,” said Upendra in his address to the media.
“I will also build a new political party with my supporters based on the principles of Prajakiya (people-centric-administration).” He said until he floats his own party he will continue his efforts to reach out to the public with his ideas and strengthen his party at the grassroots level across the state. “I will never do Rajakiya (politics). I will stick to Prajakiya,” he said.
Upendra also ruled out him and his supporters contesting as Independent candidates or joining the BJP. In the run-up to this announcement, rumours were rife that Upendra may join the saffron party given that he has been appreciative of some incentives of the BJP government. “I will appreciate any party or government that does good work for the people. I also hope, one day, not just us, any party that is in power, will do Prajakiya,” he said.
Upendra re-launched KPJP, which was first registered by Mahesh Gowda, on October 31 last year. But as the election drew close, the difference of opinion between Mahesh, party general secretary, and Upendra began cropping. Mahesh slammed the alleged authoritarian style of Upendra in selecting the candidates for contesting elections on the party tickets.
Upendra, however, alleged that Mahesh and his camp were undermining the principles that had inspired him to join the KPJP. “We got the audio recordings of them asking money in the name of party funds from others. When we got to know that they have different intentions than ours, we became strict,” he said.
Announcing his political debut, Upendra had vowed to build a political party without taking funds from anyone or hold traditional ways of election campaigns.
While he said he felt betrayed by his former party, he thanked the KPJP for bringing him together with like-minded people in politics.
He said he has about 200 candidates ready to contest elections.
“I will consult with my lawyers to explore the options to launch my new party. If we have a party and a logo by the time the state goes to polls, we will fight the upcoming elections. If we can’t contest, we will wait for the next elections. We will content municipal and gram panchayat elections,” he said.
Upendra is among the many actors from the south to have taken the political plung. He, however, stands out for his ambition. He aspires to form his own government in the state, while other actors-turned-politicians have largely been content with a post in the cabinet of a national party.