A Facebook page I Support Modi with a massive follower base of 18 lakh posted an image of cricketing stars Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, and Bollywood actor Sunny Deol. All the celebrities in the photograph are seen wearing either a saffron scarf or saffron-coloured clothes. The text inscribed in the image said, “Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunny Deol and Gautam Gambhir with BJP (translation).” It claimed that these celebrities are now with the BJP. The post has been shared more than 9,300 times since it was posted on January 31, 2019.
Political parties fielding celebrities from Bollywood and cricket to encash on their popularity in elections has been a fairly common phenomenon in Indian politics. With celebrities having openly supported particular parties in the past as well, pictures of certain celebrities in caps or scarves representing a political party during the election campaign is quite usual. Alt News found that none of these celebrities has made public announcements about joining politics. Although, Gautam Gambhir and Sunny Deol have indeed campaigned for the BJP in the past.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s image has been photo-shopped with a saffron coloured scarf and cap to suggest that he has supported the party. We found that Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma visited the PMO to invite PM Modi to their wedding. This photograph pertains to this visit in 2017. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that a sportsperson in his prime would join full-time politics.
— ANI (@ANI) December 20, 2017
The photograph is of a visit to the Siddhivinayak temple on Tendulkar’s 42nd birthday when he had donned an orange kurta. The post has used an unrelated three-year-old picture clicked in 2015. Speaking to BOOM, sources close to Tendulkar have denied the claim of him joining BJP or any other political party.
In 2014, Sunny Deol had campaigned for then BJP candidate Satyapal Singh from Baghpat constituency of Uttar Pradesh.
If reports are to be believed, Deol may contest for the Gurdaspur constituency in the next Lok Sabha elections. An article published by The New Indian Express on September 16, 2018 stated, “Sunny Deol is also among the probables for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seats, which the BJP ceded to the Congress in the bypoll after the demise of Vinod Khanna”. Although, it may be noted that the actor has in the recent past categorically denied standing for election.
— Sunny Deol (@iamsunnydeol) January 24, 2017
Gambhir’s photograph is related to one of the road shows, where he was seen campaigning for Arun Jaitley in Amritsar during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Like Deol, Gautam Gambhir has also rubbished speculative media reports about his entry into politics. “There are rumours which I have heard as well, probably the reason is maybe I take up social issues as well… For me Twitter was always a platform which is very, very important and where I take up social issues”, said Gambhir speaking to the media about the rumours.
In conclusion, the claim about these celebrities joining the Bharatiya Janata Party is fake.
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