Do celebs make good politicians

first_imgStar power adds the glamour element to the heat, dust, and grime of political campaigns. This election too, we won’t just see star campaigners but even celebs who have picked up the political cudgels. Soothing to the eyes, yes, but one often wonders if celebrityhood can and should be the only criterion for some of the candidates in the election fray? Celebrity entrants to political parties just ahead of elections is not new. Earlier, we witnessed well-known actors and sportspersons simply lending their star power to a candidate. Today, that candidate can very well be a young actor or a cricketer. But it is a varied mix. Outspoken social media supporters such as cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP and is likely to fight from a Delhi seat. At the same time, you have actors such as Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini seeking re-election while Jaya Prada has switched party colours to don BJP’s saffron to fight polls from Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur. West Bengal will see Babul Supriyo, Moon Moon Sen, and newbies Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty battling for votes. There are also Prakash Raj, Urmila Matondkar, Nikhil Gowda, Pawan Kalyan, Shilpa Shinde, and Arshi Khan, trying their luck in the political arena. Also Read – A special kind of bondOut of this mixed list of celebrities, only a chosen few have exhibited an active interest in politics. They have been vociferous about their views and where they stand on the political spectrum. The rest, like dutiful children, are all being paradropped to exude charm and attract votes. I was watching a rather painful news story with dream girl Hema Malini. Painful because the BJP MP while looking stunning didn’t seem to have any meat in her rhetoric at all. Whenever she was asked about what work she had done in her constituency of Mathura, the actor kept saying that she has done a lot of work but just can’t remember it at the moment. Err! Really? Also Read – Insider threat managementAs a reporter who has actively covered state and general elections, I have witnessed how candidates have nurtured their constituency over years. While covering the campaign trail it is fairly easy for people like us to discern the once-in-a-blue-moon visitor from the serious politician who has an undeniable connect with people. This bond with the voter doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, people will throng the streets to catch a glimpse of cine stars, but a true leader would have built his connect over a longer period of time with experience and love for the masses. Of the celebrity MPs who have already been in Parliament, save a few, most have been playing ‘outstanding’ roles i.e. they have seldom stepped inside the Parliament! Their attendance is poor, they barely raise questions, and more often than not, leave their MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds under-utilised. Former Rajya Sabha MPs such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha have historically abysmal attendance records – Tendulkar with 7.3 per cent attendance while Rekha had just 4.5 per cent! It is important to remember that these celebrity MPs get paid a generous sum by the Government of India to carry out their duties. They are meant to represent their people in Parliament and actively strive towards the development and progress of their constituency. But with most celeb MPs playing truant from Parliament and their constituencies, busy with film shoots, shows, brand endorsements, and cricket matches, one wonders if fame is enough to even allow these fair-weather entrants to contest. Should there be a clause set by the Election Commission of India to allow only serious political workers to fight polls? And what of the hardworking party worker who has lost his chance to fight elections outdone by glitz and glamour? Politics is no child’s play; it requires sincerity, hard work, and dedication. My only wish is that this year’s winning celebrity candidates showcase their seriousness about serving the people. Otherwise, there will be more ‘missing MP’ posters doing the rounds like in the case of Navjot Singh Sindhu in 2013. (The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img

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