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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has formulated a plan to keep actor Kangana Ranaut, its candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, away from potential controversies until the conclusion of the general election. Sources have been whispering to the reporters, who have gone there to see the campaign.

 

The measures range from strict instructions for Kangana to stick to one-line statements and focus on topics like the Modi government’s work and women’s empowerment to curating a list of approved media outlets for interviews and ensuring senior leaders accompany her during public programs.

 

This BJP strategy for Kangana became essential as some local party functionaries expressed discontent over a “parachute” candidate being fielded from Mandi, with some maintaining distance from her campaign events.

 

“During public programs, when the media asks her for comments, she has specific instructions on what she should speak about and that she should not speak about anything else, even if the media asks other questions,” said one Himachal Pradesh BJP functionary.

 

The functionary added that for media interactions, the state BJP unit had been instructed to seek approvals for her programs ‘directly’ from the central leadership to prevent any “unwanted comments” from her.

 

Earlier this week, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma came to Kangana’s defense after a video of her calling Subhas Chandra Bose the first Prime Minister of India in a TV interview went viral. In a post on X, Sarma wrote on Friday,

https://x.com/himantabiswa/status/1776206494440243675

 

 

 

 

The BJP has been on alert since last week when Kangana Ranaut referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “ansh” (descendant) of the Hindu deity Ram during a public meeting at Sarkaghat in Mandi district, drawing sharp reactions on social media.

 

 

The leader added that the BJP wants Kangana to highlight women-related issues in a manner that resonates nationwide since she is a national figure, as her casual statements could affect the election’s focus. To prevent controversies, the BJP initially asked Kangana to refrain from one-on-one interviews but later provided a curated list of media outlets where she could give interviews.

 

“This is election time, and any loose statement could prove fatal. Ranaut is an artist and does not understand how political campaigns work. She is not used to all this. She can easily be instigated to make any controversial statement. So, it has been decided that she will not give exclusive interviews for now, barring a few,” said a source.

 

The BJP is hand-holding Kangana and ensuring senior leaders, including former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jairam Thakur, accompany her during public interactions. Another leader stated that after Congress leader Supriya Shrinate made derogatory remarks against Kangana, the BJP aimed to turn it into an election issue.

“We want to focus on how ‘Himachal ki beti (Himachal’s daughter)’ was humiliated and don’t want to shift it to other things. Whenever Ranaut goes to public programs, senior leaders accompany her. She is informed before the program of the line she has to take during the public and media interaction,” said the leader. Sporting a Himachali cap, Kangana Ranaut is often seen wooing Mandi voters by speaking in the local Mandyali dialect. The BJP central leadership has instructed the state unit to amplify her local Himachali identity by promoting the “Himachal ki beti” tag.

Some local leaders are unhappy with the party’s decision to field her from Mandi. Moreover, workers are not enthused, which was expected after she got the ticket. So everyone is waiting for her to make one small mistake, and they can amplify it.

Former BJP state president Maheshwar Singh, in response to a question about Kangana Ranaut’s candidature, conveyed to the media that he has requested the central leadership reconsider their decision to field her from Mandi. He remarked that significant changes have occurred within the party, indicating that tickets are now allocated under the pretext of surveys, with an understanding of how these surveys operate. He added that he has no further comments to offer on the matter.

There is also a fear among state BJP leaders that most of the state unit and its functionaries may get involved in ensuring the success of Kangana’s programs while ignoring other constituencies. At the same time, the BJP is also trying to pacify several disgruntled leaders at the state level, including Ram Lal Markanda, a former state minister who quit the party to contest the Lahaul and Spiti assembly seats after the BJP fielded Congress rebel Ravi Thakur from the seat in the by-poll slated for June 1.

A state BJP leader said on condition of anonymity, “All leaders who are unhappy with the party should be pacified. Otherwise, it could impact the party’s prospects in the longer run.”

 

Himachal Pradesh BJP president Dr. Rajiv Bindal also told reporters, “The BJP is a disciplined party. As far as Kangana Ranaut is concerned, she will win the Mandi seat.”

Asked about disgruntled party leaders, he said, “Some leaders may have issues, and we will resolve them. The BJP is like a family, and all the issues will be ironed out.”

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