"Why The Pressure?" Prakash Raj On Whether He Will Divide Anti-BJP Votes

Prakash Raj, who is contesting Bengaluru Central as an independent, filed his nomination papers on Friday.

Actor Prakash Raj was a close friend of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

Bengaluru:

Actor Prakash Raj is experimenting with a new role - trying to be the man to break the BJP stronghold in parliamentary seats in Bengaluru.

Prakash Raj, who is contesting Bengaluru Central as an independent, filed his nomination papers on Friday. 

"We want a change. We want citizen's voice in parliament. It is as simple as that. It is empowering people," he told media. 

BJP's sitting MP in Bengaluru Central PC Mohan has been given the ticket again and he says he does not count Prakash Raj as a "real threat". The achievements of the Modi government in the last five years will help him, he said.

"In a democracy, anybody can contest from any place. I am competing with the Congress - not anybody else," Mr Mohan asserted. 

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Prakash Raj was a close friend of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was killed allegedly by members of right-wing fringe groups in 2017 over her views.

Will he actually eat into Congress votes - and benefit the BJP in the process? The candidate seemed irritated by the question. "Congress can talk like this if they had ever won this constituency. In the history of Bangalore Central - have they won? I don't understand this. And why is the pressure on me? What if they say they are breaking my votes? You can also be the spoilsport. You can't be arrogant," he said. 

The BJP won 17 out of Karnataka's 28 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and believes it still has the appeal needed to capture the urban seats of Bengaluru. The Congress and Prakash Raj hope that isn't the case. 

National elections, to be held in seven phases, begin April 11. Karnataka votes in two phases on April 18 and April 23.