Bollywood actor Sunny Deol on Tuesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi at the party headquarters. Deol was welcomed to the party by BJP minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal.

The party announced later in the day that Deol will be the BJP’s candidate from Gurdaspur in Punjab. The BJP, in its 26th candidate list, also declared that actor-turned-politician Kirron Kher will contest from Chandigarh and Som Prakash will be fielded from Hoshiarpur.

Deol had met BJP President Amit Shah last week, sparking speculation that he might be fielded from Punjab in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Deol’s father Dharmendra had contested from Bikaner in Rajasthan in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket. Deol’s stepmother Hema Malini is the BJP candidate from Mathura constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP is in an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab and is contesting from three of the 13 parliamentary seats – Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur.

Deol said like his father Dharmendra was associated with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he has joined the party to associate with Narendra Modi. Deol said Modi has done a lot for the country and he wishes that he remains the prime minister for another five years.

Sitharaman said she was happy to welcome Deol in the party who is “committed to his art”. She referred to the actor’s 1997 film Border based on the India-Pakistan war of 1971. The film showed how the feeling of nationalism and patriotism when evoked beautifully through film can touch a cord with the people, the Union minister said.

“It is that which draws somebody like him who serves the people through his art, and who has the commitment to build on themes which are so important to the country,” Sitharaman told reporters. “Also because we are being led by a prime minister who has been very very close to the issues related to our border, armed forces and how to keep the country’s fame and glory high... I am sure Sunny Deol has been attracted to the work of the prime minister and has taken the call to join the BJP.”