19/05/2019 1:06 PM IST

In Bengaluru Central, Prakash Raj's Fight Isn't Just Against the BJP

The actor-turned-politician said the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, a close friend, was a turning point for him.

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Actor Prakash Raj, a strident critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government, is contesting as an independent candidate this election from Bengaluru Central.

Raj is up against BJP’s PC Mohan, a two-time MP from the seat, and Congress’ Rizwan Arshad.

The actor has spoken of his indifference towards both the BJP and the Congress, saying they are not ‘secular’.

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He has instead chosen to campaign for other parties like AAP and candidates like Kanhaiya Kumar.

“If I win the election, I will work for people and if I lose, I will make the elected representative work,” he told The Hindu

Among his campaign promises are a solution to integrated public transport, affordable housing, model government schools, right to and at work, access to qualitative health and education and legislative measures to ensure social security and equal opportunity to all marginalised groups.

He told NDTV, “The last ten years we see a decade that they sit at home when they win the election... as I talk about the issues which are really haunting the city and they realise — yes we are also responsible for electing the wrong people. I think Karnataka, India is ready for alternative politics.”

On his film industry background, the actor has said, “I have political thinking. I have stood up on issues. I have spoken on issues. I am ready to not to be popular too. And people I believe see me as a personality, not just another film actor. They know me as a writer. They know me as a director. They know me as an activist. They know what I do with my foundation.”

Raj has said the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, a close friend, was a turning point for him. “It may not be the reason why I’m fighting the election now — my election today is on what this government has done to this country. But she made me think that I should come out of my comfort zone... Killing Gauri was to make every other voice become silent and threaten them, scare them that we will kill you... I did not want another Gauri,” he told DailyO.