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As Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan Weigh Their Options, Kannada Actor Upendra Launches Political Party

The party will be called 'Karnataka Pragnyavatha Janata Paksha' (KPJP) - roughly translated, it means the party of aware (politically, socially aware) people – Upendra announced.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:October 31, 2017, 10:08 PM IST
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As Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan Weigh Their Options, Kannada Actor Upendra Launches Political Party
Kannada Actor Upendra launches his new political party. (Photo: CNN-News18)
Bengaluru: As the two top filmstars of Tamil Nadu dilly-dally over whether they have political ambitions or not, popular Kannada film actor Upendra on Tuesday announced the launch of a political party on Tuesday.

The party will be called 'Karnataka Pragnyavatha Janata Paksha' (KPJP) - roughly translated, it means the party of aware (politically, socially aware) people – Upendra announced.

Known as 'Real Star' and 'Uppi' by his fans, Upendra had announced in mid-August that he has political ambitions too and would start off by inviting ideas from people – that he was a staunch believer not in 'rajakiya' (politics) but in 'prajakiya' - a people's movement on strong democratic values. He had invited people to send him ideas on how to implement his ideas by opening up three e-mail ids where they could directly write to him.

It was not the launch of the party that got people worried – the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was left squirming by a video that was made by his fans that interspersed a popular song of Uppi's called 'Bari Olu' (Kannada slang for 'Just lies').

The song put together statements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – on issues like Rs 15 lakh for all Indians by bringing back black money, responding to Pakistan in their own language, increasing employment opportunities for everyone, support price for farmers and 'ache din aa gaye'. The video morphed in the 'Bari Olu' lines at the end of each statement of the Prime Minister's and went viral on social media – riling up the BJP Karnataka unit enough to lash out at Uppi's political message.

"Anyone can launch a political party, but to make such derogatory remarks on the Prime Minister on the first day is not good. We may even look at taking legal steps," said party MP and spokesperson Shoba Karandlaje.

Karnataka has elected actors before – Umashri is a Cabinet Minister, while 'Rebel Star' Ambarish has been a Minister in the Congress before. There are others like Jaggesh and Jayamala who have identified themselves with different political parties.

This, however, will be the first time an actor is launching his own party.

While saying that accountability in politics would be what he focuses on, Uppi said he would want his party cadre to work towards major reforms in all sectors. "Education is one sector that needs a complete transformation. Our current system is such that we are studying hard and working hard to serve some foreign company. We are creating labourers only. We need to change that," Uppi told a packed news conference at the Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru.

If an MLA is elected, nobody pins him down to his election promises – and in fact, there is nothing anyone can do much about unkept promises, he pointed out.

"We want to work at a micro-level. If, in a constituency, a candidate wants to contest, he must have clear ideas what projects he wants to implement, what problems in that area he wants to address. What is practical with funds available? He must have documents on this. And should have done his research," he said.

He said about 60 to 70 candidates have already expressed interest in contesting from his party (Karnataka has 224 Assembly constituencies and will go to polls in mid-2018.)

"I have told them, you don't need money power or any such thing. If you have good, strong ideas, I will back you. I will get you the publicity you need," Uppi said.
The ruling Congress has been dismissive of his political foray. "It is election season. Such parties spring up during elections and disappear too," said Congress president G Parameshwara.

Uppi has earlier been known for films filled with political messaging – such as 'A,' 'Super', 'Uppi2', 'H2O', 'Auto Shankar' and 'Raktha Kanneeru'. In 'Super', he played the part of a Chief Minister too.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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