Gul Panag has travelled a long way since hitting the spotlight in 1999, when she won the Miss India beauty pageant. A stint in the world of fashion and cinema followed soon after. Her Bollywood sojourn saw her acting in films like Dor, which were critically acclaimed, but her career stalled. The 35-year-old, also a fitness enthusiast, is very active on Twitter, with some 8 lakh followers. She has now decided to take the aam aadmi route to enter the dirt and grime of politics.
Gul, whose father Lt. Gen (Retd.) H S Panag is one of the founding members of the Aam Aadmi Party, today joined Arvind Kejriwal’s outfit and has been declared as its candidate from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. She replaces Savita Bhatti, widow of popular satirist-cum-actor, the late Jaspal Bhatti, who pulled out of the race earlier this week.
Gul hit the campaign trail even before her name was formally declared by Mr. Kejriwal’s party. “Chandigarh is my home. I was born and brought up in Chandigarh. Like you, I also want an atmosphere of clean politics. That is why I have joined this. It is my humble request to all of you to become a member of this movement,” she told while campaigning in the city. Sporting the trademark AAP cap and dark glasses, the model-turned-actor-turned-politician mingled freely with the crowd, seeking their support to enter Parliament
Gul is expected to take on former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, a three-term Congress heavyweight, whose candidature has reportedly been cleared by the Congress election committee. Mr. Bansal, 65, had to resign from the Union Cabinet in May after his nephew Vijay Singla was arrested for allegedly accepting bribe to facilitate a plum posting for a senior official in the Railways. A CBI probe, however, gave a clean chit to Mr. Bansal two months later, citing lack of evidence.