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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Divorced star couple face-off likely in Odisha

Now they seem all set for a face-off in the poll arena with Anubhav hopping onto the BJP’s bandwagon and Varsha joining the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJP)

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 19.04.24, 07:15 AM
Anubhav Mohanty joins the BJP (left); Varsha Priyadarshini joins the BJD on Thursday.

Anubhav Mohanty joins the BJP (left); Varsha Priyadarshini joins the BJD on Thursday. Ashwinee Kumar Pati

Once the toast of the Odia film industry — Anubhav Mohanty and Varsha Priyadarshini — separated following a bitter divorce a few months ago.

Now they seem all set for a face-off in the poll arena with Anubhav hopping onto the BJP’s bandwagon and Varsha joining the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJP). Indications are that they will either face each other as rival candidates or as the star campaigners of their respective parties.

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Anubhav had won the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat in 2019 on the BJD ticket but switched loyalties a few weeks ago as the regional party denied him the ticket this time. The saffron party is likely to field him from one of the Assembly constituencies in Cuttack district. In the event of his candidature, the BJD may field Varsha against him. Even if they don’t challenge each other as candidates they are certain to clash as the star campaigners for their respective parties.

The favourite couple of Ollywood officially divorced in December 2023 after a long four-year legal battle. It was a bitter parting. Varsha’s joining the BJD on Thursday in the presence of party’s Rajya Sabha member and national spokesperson Sasmit Patra is being seen as an act of revenge against her former husband. For the BJD, though, it comes as a godsend as Varsha remains immensely popular among the youth.

After joining the party, Varsha said she had been drawn to the regional outfit by the clean image of its supreme leader, chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Varsha said: “Naveenji’s spotless image and clean personality have always inspired me. He is simple, speaks less but works more. His work always speaks for him. His contribution to Odisha is incomparable. He is an ideal for everyone. No one can match him.”

Varsha has been moving close to the BJD for some time now. In 2019, she played the lead role in the movie Nimki — Nimpur Ru Naveen Niwas, which depicts the journey of a girl from Nimpur to Naveen Nivas overcoming obstacles. The film was released in January 2019 ahead of the general election. The party cashed in on its popularity.

One of the dialogues in the film delivered by Varsha was, “I am doing politics and will be doing it in future.” This had, in a way, foreshadowed her entry into politics.

The BJD leaders have been all praise for the actress. “Though she joined the party formally today, she has been associated with it for a long time. She has been working for the empowerment of women. During the Covid epidemic, she had helped women rebuild their lives,” said BJD national spokesperson Patra.

The BJD plans to involve film stars in its campaign in the coming days. While the BJD will rely on the popularity of the likes of Varsha and comedian Pappu Pom Pom the BJP will use the services of Anubhav and several other cine stars like Siddhant Mohapatra, a two-time MP from Berhampur who is contesting the election from Dgpahandi on BJP ticket. Former MLA Akash Das Nayak, who is also contesting the election, is among the other stars from the Odia film industry who would be lending glamour to the polls.

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