Leading Kannada film actor Sudeep Sanjeev, popularly known as Kichcha Sudeep, on Wednesday announced his support to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in the poll-bound Karnataka, giving “star power” to the ruling BJP’s campaign for the May 10 Assembly elections.
Bommai said Sudeep supporting him means the actor would campaign for the BJP. Sudeep, who has a huge fan following in the State and one of the highest paid actors of Kannada cinema, however, made it clear that he is not entering politics, neither is he contesting the polls.
The actor also indicated that he was not backing a party.
Stressing his affection and respect for the Chief Minister and recalling that he stood by him during his difficult times and shared a very close bond with his family, the actor announced his support to Bommai.
Sudeep, best known for his performance in films such as Swathi Muthu, Kempe Gowda, Eega, and Pailwaan, hails from Shivamogga district and belongs to Valmiki Nayaka community, the largest tribes in the ST category, in the State.
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Sudeep, 49, who has acted in movies in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil, in addition to Kannada, said he would campaign for “some of the people he (Bommai) wants him to support. “I will go by what he (Bommai) wants, his requirements. I am not entering politics”, he said.
Bommai, who was sitting next to him at the press conference, said he had told Sudeep that even though he is not joining the BJP, his campaigning is “necessary”. When Sudeep says he is extending me support, it means along with me he would campaign for the BJP.
“Sudeep doesn’t belong to any party. He has come to support me, and the party I belong to”. “Sudeep’s support gives big strength to BJP’s campaign”, the Chief Minister said.
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He also insisted that he had backed late actor and politician Ambareesh for the same reasons.
Thanking Sudeep and his parents, Bommai said Sudeep would provide a big push to BJP’s chances, adding that “he would be a force for the party”.
Earlier speaking to reporters outside his residence before heading to the hotel, where he addressed the media with the Chief Minister, Ministers R Ashoka, K Sudhakar, and Muniratna, the actor said: “If you think I am in favour of a party, I have not done any such thing”.
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Recently, Sudeep received a letter from an unknown person, threatening to post a private video on social media when reports started surfacing that Sudeep might join the BJP.
On the letter, Sudeep said, “Let the police handle the case. I know who could be behind this.”
The polls in Karnataka are scheduled to be held on May 10, with the vote count on May 13.