Popular south Indian actress Vijaya Santhi is testing the electoral waters for the first time from Medak Lok Sabha constituency in Andhra Pradesh, a seat once represented by late Indira Gandhi.
Vijaya Santhi, who has acted in about 200 films in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and in Hindi, won the National Film Award in 1990 for her power-packed performance as a tough cop in the film 'Karthavyam' (Tejaswini in Hindi).
She started her political career in late 1990s by joining the BJP and served as the secretary of the saffron party's Mahila Morcha. She, however, quit the BJP and launched her political outfit 'Talli Telangana' a few years ago to fight for separate Telangana cause.
As the party failed to take off, she merged the outfit with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) recently and managed to secure the Medak seat.
The parliamentary constituency, neighbouring Hyderabad, is considered a safe bet for her as the 'sentiment' in favour of separate Telangana state is strong in the region.
Luckily for her, the ruling Congress has fielded a political novice C Narendranath, a real estate businessman, from the constituency.
Like in many other seats in Andhra Pradesh, women voters (6,77,836) outnumber their male counterparts (6,61,796) in Medak too.
The parliamentary constituency has seven assembly segments -- Siddipet, Medak, Narsapur, Sangareddy, Patancheru, Dubbak and Gajwel under it. TRS candidate A Narendra defeated his BJP rival P Ramachandra Reddy by a margin of over one lakh votes in the 2004 general elections.
Narendra was suspended from TRS and he supported the UPA government when it faced the trust vote in Lok Sabha following withdrawal of support by Left parties.
Vijaya Santhi has taken a lead over her Congress rival in campaigning with the oratorical skills and the ability to reach out to the voters.
"My ultimate aim is realizing separate Telangana state. Contesting in the election is a means to achieve that. I am sure of my victory," she said.
Capitalising on her film glamour to woo the voters, she is campaigning in the constituency extensively every day without taking a break for long.
Seeking to dispel the notion that actor-turned-politician would remain inaccessible after winning the election, Vijaya Santhi says that she will always be available to the peo ple of the constituency.