Rakhi Sawant joins RPI, challenges Raj Thackeraytext_fields
Mumbai: Bollywood actress Rakhi Sawant Saturday joined the Republican Party of India (RPI) as the national executive president of its women's wing.
"I am not scared of anyone... If required, I am ready to contest the forthcoming Maharashtra assembly elections against (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief) Raj Thackeray," Sawant said soon after joining the RPI.
Raj Thackeray had recently announced his plans to contest the ensuing state assembly elections and is even prepared to become his party's chief ministerial nominee.
Sawant's statement would help strengthen the RPI's alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena, whose chief Uddhav Thackeray is also being pushed by his party to become chief ministerial candidate.
Welcoming Sawant into the party, RPI chief Ramdas Athawale said she was a known face and a household name across the country. "Besides being a popular actress, she is also a dedicated social worker. In fact, we have some artistes in the RPI, who are engaged in social work."
Explaining the high-level position given to Sawant despite her political inexperience, RPI spokesperson Mayur Borkar said she was a known crowd-puller, a trait which would come in handy to the National Democratic Alliance in the northern states during elections.
Just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sawant - who starred in the Bigg Boss One in 2006 - wholeheartedly supported the BJP and Narendra Modi.
However, when the BJP overlooked her for a ticket, Sawant floated her own political party - Rashtriya Aam Party - and contested the polls from the Mumbai North-West constituency, securing just 1,995 votes.