The parliamentary constituency of Mandi that goes to polls in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections has been making headlines from the start. The reason is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate actor Kangana Ranaut’s tendency to constantly put her foot in the mouth.

This Bollywood actor is well known for making controversial comments. However, politics is not a film and even though the Congress party is yet to announce its candidate on this seat, Ranaut’s past comments are coming back to haunt her.

The BJP top brass' assumption of Mandi as an easy electoral battle to add a seat in its kitty by fielding a glamorous Bollywood face, is facing a reality check. Observers feel it is not going to be an easy affair for the Saffron party that is out to wrest the seat from state Congress chief Pratibha Singh who had won the Lok Sabha by-polls in 2021.

Mandi is the second largest constituency in the country in terms of area covered. This constituency is spread over the districts of Mandi, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and parts of Chamba and Shimla. This region has one of the toughest terrains and extreme climate zones.

Coming back to Ranaut’s foot-in-the-mouth syndrome, the latest in the series is her tweet on beef consumption. She wrote, “I don’t consume beef or any other kind of red meat, it is shameful that completely baseless rumours are being spread about me. I have been advocating and promoting yogic and Ayurvedic way of life for decades now such tactics won’t work to tarnish my image. My people know me and they know that I am a proud Hindu and nothing can ever mislead them. Jai Shri Ram” (


Her detractors on social media have been quick to point out that in the past her views were entirely different. Fact checker Mohammed Zubair shared an old tweet from Ranaut’s handle which stated, “There is nothing wrong with eating beef or eating any other meat, It’s not about religion! It’s not a hidden fact that Kangana turned vegetarian 8 years ago and chose to be a yogi. She still doesn’t believe in just one religion. On the contrary her brother eats meat.”

While sharing a photo of this now unavailable tweet from her Zubair wrote, “Yes you’ve told multiple times during interviews that you once loved Beef but turned vegan a few years back. Anyways Ye ‘Laal Maas’ konsi vedic subzi hai @KanganaTeam.” (


That Ranaut and controversy go hand in hand was evident right from the moment the BJP announced her as the party candidate on the Mandi seat. The party was instantly hit by a rebellion of sorts.

Former party MP Maheshwar Singh who comes from the erstwhile royal family of Kullu, reportedly said, “During the last Assembly elections, the BJP took party ticket back from me by saying that according to party rule, the BJP could not give ticket to two members of one family, father and son. Now, the same BJP has given a ticket to actor Kangana Ranaut who was not even a member of the party.”

Efforts were then made by former Chief Minister Jai Ram who comes from Mandi to mollify Singh and get him to campaign for Ranaut. Singh later said he is a “dedicated worker of the party”, and agreed to campaign for Ranaut.

A large number of ex-servicemen have raised their voice seeking the party ticket for Brigadier (Retired) Khushal Thakur, a Kargil War hero. Thakur had lost to Pratibha in 2021. Sources say that expecting a re-nomination by the party Thakur had been reaching out to the electorate for quite some time.

However, leaders like former BJP MLA from Darang Jawahar Thakur have been skipping Ranaut’s programmes. Even the state BJP spokesperson Ajay Rana has also reportedly kept away from party programmes.

Ranaut has also faced massive trolling over the video clips going viral where she is seen saying that “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the first Prime Minister of India” and that “Sardar Patel could not speak English”.

Her claims on camera that “India got her independence in 1947 as alms” and that “real independence came in 2014 (when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister)” have come back to haunt her. To make matters worse Ranaut even defended her quote on Bose in a tweet. (


Then there was the episode of derogatory remarks against Ranaut, from the social media handle of Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate which the latter said had been posted mischievously from a parody account.

The matter reached the Election Commission of India even as the Congress dug out an old video of Ranaut dating 2020 where she called actress Urmila Matondkar a ‘soft porn star’. Matondkar at that point of time was with the Congress.

In one of her tweets Ranaut said, “If a young man gets a ticket his ideology is attacked. If a young woman gets a ticket her sexuality is attacked. Strange!! Also congress people are sexualising a small town’s name. Mandi is being used in sexual context everywhere, just because it has a young woman candidate, shame…” (


On the ground, Ranaut’s campaign has not taken off the way the BJP leadership would have liked. People contacted by this reporter pointed out that glamour quotient alone is no guarantee of a politician being a capable people’s representative.

“She has tried to attract people by addressing them in the local dialect but has not talked about any real issues till now. All she is saying is that she is the nominee of Modi,” an observer pointed out.

“The people want a leader who talks about development. They want their potential representative to talk about employment which is missing from her narrative till now. The question being asked is where was she when the people of the constituency were hit by the unprecedented natural disaster last year,” social activist Joginder Walia said.

Senior political observer Dharam Prakash Gupta told The Citizen, “Right now all the noise is about her as the Congress is yet to announce its candidate. A thing going against her, apart from a large number of the BJP cadres being miffed, is the public perception about her accessibility.

“The people want a leader who is easily accessible in the constituency. The people are also questioning her failure to come up with aid for the disaster hit when other Bollywood actors were donating funds.

“Her path is not going to be easy if the Congress comes with a solid candidate like Vikramaditya Singh who is the son of former CM Virbhadra Singh. He will have the political legacy of his father on his side.”

Sources say that Vikramaditya, a sitting MLA and a minister, is expected to be the Congress candidate on this seat. If that happens Mandi is sure to witness a mega battle as Ranaut is seen to be a Modi nominee.

Observers say that Ranaut has proved to be a tool in the hands of the BJP, raking up controversies around Jawaharlal Nehru and attacking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi persistently. Her nomination is seen as a prize for raking up controversies amid ‘illogical claims and comments’.