Yesteryear actor and politician Kushboo Sundar on Monday quit the Congress and joined the BJP in New Delhi, her third political stop in a career that had begun in the DMK only 10 years ago.
From being a fierce ideological opponent of the BJP’s right wing politics on Twitter and television debates, Kushboo explained the political transition saying, she did that because as an opposition party’s spokesperson it was her duty to criticise the ruling party’s policies. “I have come to understand that if a nation has to move forward, we need someone like our Honourable PM Narendra Modi ji to take the nation in its right direction and to its glory.”
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Kushboo, who was the party’s national spokesperson, claimed that a few elements, seated at a higher level within the party, “people who have no connectivity with the ground reality or public recognition,” were dictating terms. As a result, “people like me, who wanted to work for the party sincerely are being pushed and suppressed.”
In 2014, she had quit the DMK complaining in a similar fashion that she realised the Dravidian party was “a one-way road”.
Congress leaders had earlier made a vain attempt to stop her from leaving. But once the inevitable, which was in the air for sometime, happened, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee leader K S Alagiri said, “Cadres saw her only as an actor. She never really jelled with the party. In the Congress, she was only like water on lotus leaves.”
Exactly a week ago, at a Congress platform to condemn the Hathras incident, Kushboo had strongly criticised both Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while hailing her then party leadership.
Sources said that Kushboo was upset at being denied a Lok Sabha ticket last year. She had eyed the South Chennai seat but the DMK had refused to part with it. Later Kushboo, a Muslim by birth, wanted to contest in Theni, allotted to the Congress, hoping to cash in on the presence of Muslim voters in the constituency. However, the ticket was given to her mentor in the Congress, EVKS Elangovan, who lost to Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s son, O P Raveendranath Kumar.
Political analysts felt that while Kushboo, who is extremely articulate but does not have any mass support, may not bring in any actual value in terms of votes, her entry into the BJP will help change the perception about the saffron party. It may project the party as one that is being favoured by even those belonging to the minority community and give the impression that it is gaining in strength in Tamil Nadu, a state dominated by Dravidian parties.