BJP Hungers For Power, Trying To Silence Dissent, Says Actor Prakash Raj

BJP Hungers For Power, Trying To Silence Dissent, Says Actor Prakash Raj


BENGALURU:  Noted south Indian actor Prakash Raj, who has drawn fire from supporters of the BJP and the central government with his critical comments in recent months, on Sunday launched yet another attack. The actor -- whose remarks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence after journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder had recently made headlines -- censured the ruling BJP in no uncertain terms, for, he said, trying to "silence dissent".

Accusing the BJP of having a "hunger to hold on to power", the 52-year-old actor said it was leading to a situation where people like him "could not speak".

"Hasn't this been happening for quite some time? Wasn't Shah Rukh Khan sidelined? Wasn't Aamir Khan sidelined? Wasn't he removed from being an ambassador? Weren't some of his commercials stopped? My commercials are being stopped too. I can't speak about the commercials because there is money involved," Mr Raj told a press conference on Sunday.

The trend of intolerance, he said, has become stronger lately. "You pass a law on cow. Just because you have doubts, you kill somebody. If a young couple is sitting, you pelt stone and assault and make a young couple marry. Are you a representative of this country? If this is not instilling fear, what is?" he said.

Mr Raj suggested that there is a "silent majority" of people who have realised what he called their "mistake" in voting for the BJP.

But the actor hastened to add that he was sceptical of all political parties. He also said he did not approve of actors joining politics only because they are popular and termed it as a disaster. He advised "they should come with clear perception of issues facing the country".

"You'll see me -- as time goes by I don't belong to one particular brand. At this moment, there is something I'm fighting. I have no faith in any political party," he said.

Last month, Mr Raj had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the unsolved murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh - another critic of right-wing ideology -- was why his five National Awards were deserved by "bigger actors" including the PM.

Days later, in a Twitter post titled "To whomsoever it may concern", he risked confrontation with right-wing social media users, saying "If instilling fear in the name of religion... culture... morality is not terrorizing... then what is it. Just asking."

On Sunday, the actor also questioned why ministers and Chief Ministers were campaigning in other states while children were suffering in hospitals. "I can't say what I want to say but with little irony... when there's is a bigger disease, I would like to attack that than fever or cold," he said.

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