Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt may now play a role in politics with the Samajwadi Party on Thursday deciding to field him as its candidate from Lucknow in the Lok Sabha polls.
Bhojpuri sensation Manoj Tiwari would be the SP's candidates from Gorakhpur.
The party took the decision at its central parliamentary board meeting held in New Delhi.
SP general secretary Amar Singh announced the decision to field 26 other candidates, including party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri.
Since Sanjay Dutt was convicted under the Arms Act, the SP would seek the Supreme Court's permission and the Election Commission's to field him.
Apparently referring to Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament Navjot Singh Sidhu, Singh said, "Like a BJP MP who is a known cricketer was allowed to contest despite being convicted, we too will try our best to field Dutt. If we fail, he would certainly be our star campaigner.
"Since we are an ally of the Congress, and Dutt's sister Priya is a Congress MP, we hope the Congress will be happy that we are fielding him," he said.
Singh hoped that senior Congress leaders, including Law Minister H R Bhardwaj and Ahmed Patel, would "bless" Dutt.
He claimed that Dutt was willing to contest the elections.
The party would field actor Manoj Tiwari from Gorakhpur where he would be pitted against the BJP's Adityanath who is the heir apparent of the powerful Gorakhnath peeth in the eastern UP city.
The Lucknow seat is represented by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But with Vajpayee not willing to contest the elections, several parties are trying to wrest the seat from the BJP.
The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh has already announced that Akhilesh Das, former Union minister in the Manmohan Singh government, would be its candidate from Lucknow.
The BJP says it will soon decide on its candidate from Lucknow. Whether the Congress will field someone against Dutt remains to be seen.