Actor turned politician and former MP for Chitradurga Shashi Kumar rejoined the Janata Dal (S) on Thursday and is likely to contest the Assembly election from Hosadurga constituency.
He was a member of the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004) after he won from Chitradurga constituency on a Janata Dal (United) ticket. The JD(U) however denied him a ticket in the 2004 elections and Kumar jumped ship to the JD(S). He contested on a JD(S) ticket from Chickballapur Constituency in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections and was defeated by RL Jalappa of the Congress.
Between 2004 and 2006, he was with the JD(S) and due to differences between party members, he had quit and joined Congress. He had reportedly pointed to the ‘suffocating’ nature of leadership in the party as the reason for his departure.
He has now returned to the JD(S) after he did not receive a ticket to contest for the Congress from Molakalmuru constituency in Chitradurga.
Shashi Kumar has also acted in several Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi films including the Rajnikanth starrer Baasha. His popularity in Karnataka had soared after the release of Yuddha Kaanda in 1989 in which he starred alongside Ravichandran and Poonam Dhillon.
Actors turning to politics have had mixed success in the state. Actor Umashri is a Cabinet Minister and ‘Rebel Star’ Ambareesh has also been a minister with the Congress in the past. Actors like Shankar Nag and Anant Nag have campaigned for the Janata Dal in the 1980s and Upendra launched his own party only to bow out of it before the upcoming polls. Shashi Kumar himself has tasted success after he became an MP in 1999.
It remains to be seen whether Shashi Kumar can propel the JD(S) to an unlikely victory in Molakalmuru.