In a much-anticipated move, actor-turned-politician Khushbu Sundar (known in Tamil Nadu as Kushboo), who resigned from the INC, joined the BJP today in New Delhi. “If the nation has to move forward, we need somebody like Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the country in the right direction,” she told reporters after joining her new party.
When speculations were on about her switch, people on social media exclaimed that she was seen and heard speaking in favour of the INC just a couple of days ago on television.
“My expectation from BJP isn’t about what party is going to do for me, but about what party is going to do for people of the country. When you’ve 128 cr people actually believing in one man and that’s our PM, I think they’re doing something absolutely right,” Kushboo said.
In her resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, Kushboo wrote that “a few elements seated at higher levels within the party” were “suppressing” people like her who wanted to work.
“People who have no connectivity with the ground reality or public recognition are dictating terms,” Kushboo wrote. The party, in the meantime, announced that they had removed Sundar from her post of All India Congress Committee spokesperson with “immediate effect”.
The developments precede the Tamil Nadu Assembly election slated for 2021. Kushboo, Tamil media reports, was upset that she was not given a ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and BJP has promised her to provide a seat in the 2021 assembly election.
Tamil Nadu Congress politician KS Alagiri said the departure of Kushboo from the party would not leave a void in the party. “For the past six months, her activities have been against the beliefs and ideology of the party. She has been making contradicting remarks against our leader Rahul Gandhi ji. People in Congress saw her only as an actress and not as a politician,” he said.
Khushbu Sundar had first sparked off rumours of a rift with the INC three months ago when she backed the Narendra Modi government’s new National Education Policy. She had even tweeted an apology to party leader Rahul Gandhi for her differing views.
The tweet from Kushboo invited criticism from senior INC politicians. Tamil Nadu Congress President Alagiri had said her comments showed her immaturity. INC MP Jothimani said her party and its leadership, unlike the BJP, never expected people to be head-nodding robots or puppets.
Kushboo had joined the INC in 2014. She was earlier a member of the DMK since 2010.
Kushboo made a foray into politics in May 2010 when she joined DMK in the presence of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. She said at that point that the DMK’s ideology gel with her personal beliefs and that the party had always worked for empowering women.
The then DMK president Karunanidhi had said Kushboo was a person with progressive ideas, having affinity espoused by rationalist social reformer and Dravidar Kazhagam leader EV Ramasamy Naicker, popularly known as Periyar. Incidentally, Kushboo had acted as Maniammai (wife of Periyar) in the 2007 biopic titled Periyar.
Four years later in June 2014, Kushboo quit the DMK where she felt “sidelined”. In a letter to then party chief Karunanidhi, she said her dedication and hard work for the party continued to be a one-way path. “With a heavy heart, I undertake the decision to quit the party as a member,” she had written.
In November later that year, Kushboo joined the INC after meeting Sonia Gandhi at the house of the latter. Kushboo said at this point that it was a moment of pride of her. She said that the INC was the only party that could keep the country united. “I feel I am home,” she had said. Kushboo had added that she would work for the good of the country and not be focussed on Tamil Nadu alone.
Personal life of Kushboo
A multi-faceted personality, Kushboo has starred in more than 200 films across south Indian languages. For television, she has produced and starred in a couple of soap operas. Currently, Kushboo is heading Avni Cinemax, a production house alongside her husband Sundar C.
Kushboo was born on 29 September 1970 in a Muslim family in Mumbai. She married film actor, director and producer Sundar C in 2000. They have two daughters, Avantika and Anandita, after whom they named their production house, Avni Cinemax. She has been living in Chennai for more than 34 years. In 2017, she stressed that, she still believes herself to be a Muslim.