After packing up from the sets of ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, this television star has come a long way and now she is ready with a bigger role as she has been fielded as the BJP candidate against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in his pocket borough Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

Though the political parties have been fielding celebrities on the tough seats in the elections, she is trying to refute the truth in her own way. Irani talks about her political journey and personal life in a candid chat with senior journalist of Dainik Jagran Rashik Dwiwedi.

Q. How did a celebrity turn into politician?

Ans. The BJP is like a home to me. I have been part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since my childhood days. My grandfather himself was a Swayamsevak and my mother was a Jan Sanghi. Before debuting as ‘Tulsi’ in ‘Kyunki…’, I have been the real ‘Tulsi’ of Sangh Parivar and Jan Sangh.

It was Yashwant Rao Kelkar ji who inspired me to join politics.  I have also worked as an Indian ambassador to World Health Organization (WHO) for three years. I joined politics because I think it’s better to be part of the system rather than blaming others for failure.

Q. Don’t you think that the parties prefer glamour world to committed workers in ticket distribution?

Ans. No, that is not the case. I myself have worked at the ground level. I have put up posters on the wall. This is the reason behind party giving me the huge responsibility.

Q. The party has fielded you on Rahul Gandhi’s home turf. Was the decision your personal one?

Ans. I am a simple party worker. The party has decided to field me from Amethi. I am doing what my leaders have asked me to. After my victory, I would be visiting the people of Amethi every week to listen to their grievances.

Q. Your personality reflects blend of many cultures?

Ans. Yes, this may be true. I am born to a Maharashtrian family. My grandmother was a Punjabi. And I am married in a Gujarati family.  I have seen blend of many cultures and traditions.

Q. You are a big name in the entertainment industry. You earned fame in a very little span of time. Do you expect similar response in your electoral battle too?

Ans. At the age of 38, I am a Rajya Sabha Member. This is not because of my stardom but due to my hard work and determination for the welfare of people. And I have got the opportunity to serve the nation by those who have been elected directly by the people.

Q. You are a popular actor, a successful housewife and an emerging politician. Which suits you the most?

Ans. Well, whether I am successful in family life will be decided by my husband and children. As far as acting is concerned, the love and affection I received from the audience are enough to speak the reality. Last but not the least, I am working hard to prove my niche as a politician. The rest would be decided by the people in the Lok Sabha elections.

Q. Is there any chance of Smriti Irani returning to the entertainment industry? What’s your take on this?

Ans. No, I will never return to the entertainment world… But you never know what will happen in the future.

Q. Who is your political role model?

Ans. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji… Lal Krishna Advani ji is like a family to me. I have worked under the guidance of Narendra Modi ji in Gujarat for several years. They all are my role models.

JPN/Bureau

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