Actor Sanjay Dutt on Monday dismissed reports that he would join Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra, ANI reported. His clarification came a day after the party’s president and state Cabinet minister Mahadev Jankar claimed he would join the party on September 25.

“Mr Jankar is a dear friend and brother of mine and I humbly wish him good luck for his future endeavours,” Dutt said.

Jankar made the claims at the party’s 16th Foundation Day celebrations in the presence of Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, PTI reported. He said the RSP, which mainly represents the Dhangar or shepherd community, wanted to expand.

“...We have started working in the film sector as well to expand our party,” Jankar said. “As part of which, actor Sanjay Dutt is also joining the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh on September 25,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.

The minister also played a video clip in which Dutt said: “I congratulate RSP National President Mahadev Jankar, my friend and my brother. If I would have been here, I would have come,” IANS reported.

“Just now you heard the bytes of big boss...big brother,” Jankar said at a rally in Shivaji Park. “Sanjay Dutt has given September 25 day to join [RSP]. He is in Dubai [today]. Had he been in Mumbai, he would have definitely joined us.”

He also demanded that the BJP allot at least 14 seats for his party in the state Assembly elections. Jankar, who is the minister of animal husbandry, dairy development and fisheries, highlighted the strength of the Dhangar community to put pressure on the BJP over RSP’s demands.

In 2009, Dutt was a Samajwadi Party candidate for the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency, but he was forced to withdraw after the court refused to suspend his conviction under the Arms Act.

Dutt was sentenced to five years in jail in 2007 after he was found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol, acquired from those involved in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. He was released on May 1, 2016.

The actor’s father Sunil Dutt had represented Mumbai North West constituency as a Congress leader for five terms. His sister Priya Dutt was the Congress candidate from Mumbai Northwest constituency in the Lok Sabha elections.

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