I very clearly remember the moment my name was announced as a candidate. After being in politics for a little over a decade and denied a chance to prove my worth and ability, this was an incredible feeling. Even as I tried to behave normally, going about my daily chores at home, my ears were clearly tuned to the TV. The moment the announcement came in: ‘Famous actress Khushbu Sundar will contest from…’, I hugged my husband. I knew I was about to embark on my most difficult journey. Till now, I was so used to campaigning for others. But this time I have to don the pads myself and enter the field to take on some furious fast bowling from my opponents.
The real challenge made itself apparent very soon. The constituency I was to contest, Thousand Lights, in Chennai, was new to me. As an in-charge of the neighbouring Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency, I had worked hard over months to strengthen the BJP’s base ahead of the elections. I had networked with the BJP and the AIADMK cadre there, only to be diverted towards Thousand Lights—which was like a foreign land. So I had to jump straight into campaign mode with just twenty days to go till election day. Meetings, strategic planning, social platform visibility, press coverage…name it and it was on my plate. Too many things to do, but very little time. Thankfully, help was at hand—my niece and my husband, who put his work on hold and postponed the release of his movie, were my biggest strengths. We did not have a professional strategist to design my campaign. We gathered a bunch of young enthusiasts we knew to work for us. And their energy and fresh thinking proved to be the perfect fuel for my campaign.