The Lok Sabha campaign in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur has scored high on vitriol, if not the quality of political discourse. Part of this is down to the two high-profile candidates—BJP’s Jaya Prada against Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan—and the rest due to their frequent potshots against each other, from ‘khaki underwear’ to ‘Anarkali’ to ‘x-ray eyes’.
Actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada has been making headlines since March when she joined the BJP, her fifth political party. She has won the Rampur seat twice, in 2004 and 2009, when she was part of the Samajwadi Party. It was in 2009 that she had accused Khan of circulating nude photos of her. In a recent interview, she claimed that she was isolated in the party by him “because of my popularity among Hindus and Muslims.” In 2010, she was expelled from SP for supporting Amar Singh. In 2011, Singh and Jaya Prada floated a party, the Rashtriya Lok Manch, which failed to win any seats in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Jaya Prada then joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal in 2014 and contested from the Bijnor seat, where she lost.
Jaya Prada entered politics through the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1994 at the invitation of its founder NT Rama Rao. She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1996, representing Andhra Pradesh. However, she quit the party, reportedly after her differences with Chandrababu Naidu.