Looking to expand its base in Telugu states, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to woo celebrities to its fold.
As part of these efforts, BJP national president J. P. Nadda will be meeting actor Nithin and former cricketer Mithali Raj here on Saturday.
Nadda is likely to meet Mithali Raj at Novotel Hotel near Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad around noon.
After landing at the airport, the BJP leader will halt at the hotel before leaving for Hanamkonda to address a public meeting to mark the culmination of the third phase of Praja Sangrama Yatra of party’s state president Bandi Sanjay.
The BJP chief will meet Nithin at the same hotel in the evening after his return from Hanamkonda. Nadda is likely to request the actor hailing from Telangana to enter politics.
Nithin Kumar Reddy, who is known in film circles as Nithin, hails from Nizamabad district of the state. He made his debut in 2002 with ‘Jayam’ and won the award for best male debut-south for his performance.
Mithali Raj, one of Indian cricket’s all-time greats, retired from international cricket in June this year. Born in Rajasthan, she lives in Hyderabad.
During her 23-year international career, she scored 7,805 ODI runs in 232 matches, at an average of just over 50. She also scored 2,364 runs in 89 T20Is, as well as 699 runs in 12 Tests, including a century and four half-centuries.
Nadda’s meeting with two celebrities comes less than a week before union home minister Amit Shah’s meeting with popular actor Junior NTR at the same hotel.
Shah had called on Junior NTR on August 21 after addressing a public meeting in Munugode Assembly constituency, which fell vacant after the resignation of Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy. The Congress leader joined the BJP at the public meeting.
Though BJP leaders claimed that politics was not discussed during Shah’s meeting with NTR, it’s no secret that the saffron party is in search of some charismatic faces to woo the electorate and consolidate its base in the two Telugu states, especially in Telangana where Assembly elections are due next year.
Junior NTR is the grandson of N. T. Rama Rao, popularly known as NTR, the legendary actor, founder of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Junior NTR, who has emerged as a pan India actor with his recent movie ‘RRR’, is one of the top stars of Tollywood with a mass following in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He had campaigned for Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP in 2009 elections but remained away from active politics.