Jaya Prada gives 'Bollywood' touch to campaigning

Actress dishes put filmi dialogues to woo the electorate at Rampur

Politicians, even the die-hard ones, may have to “labour” to bring “emotions” and “drama” in their speeches to woo the electorate but for film actors it comes “naturally” and also proves “very handy”.

Film actress turned politician and Lok Manch vice-president Jaya Prada has been taking full advantage of her acting ability during her campaigning in support of her party candidates in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district, about 325 km from here.

Jaya Prada, who also represents Rampur in the Lok Sabha, has been seeking the votes in typical “Bollywood” style. “Main apna anchal faila ke apse voton ki bheekh mangti hoon” (I beg of you to give your votes), she says just as a “wronged woman” in a Bollywood movie begs for giving her strength to fight her enemies before the gods holding a portion of her “saree” (anchal) with her two hands.

A “bucket” (the election symbol of her party Lok Manch) is also kept on the stage and
Jaya Prada requests the electorate of Rampur to fill the “bucket with their votes” and ensure a win for her party candidate Reshma Afroz, who is contesting from the Rampur city Assembly seat against senior Samajwadi Party leader and Jaya’s arch rival Azam Khan.

Although the Lok Manch, founded by expelled SP leader Amar Singh, has fielded its candidates from several places in the state in the ongoing Assembly elections, for both Singh and Jaya Prada, the fight in Rampur was a “prestige issue”.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Khan had opposed Jaya’s candidature and was later expelled from the party after he criticised party supreme Mulayam Singh Yadav for joining hands with former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh.

Khan, from Rampur and a seven-time MLA, had campaigned against Jaya Prada in 2009 but the latter had the last laugh. But a lot has happened in between. Now, Azam Khan is back in the Samajwadi Party and Singh is out. Jaya Prada chose to take Singh’s side.

“It has become a prestige issue for Singh and Jaya Prada…a loss for Khan will certainly ruin his political career and reduce his clout within the SP…it’s more a personal fight than anything else,” remarks Shakeel Khan, a local resident.

“It will be sweet revenge for Jaya Prada and Amar Singh if Azam Khan loses,” Khan says, though he is not sure of it.

No wonder Jaya Prada has been camping here for the past several days and campaigning extensively in support of her party nominees, especially Reshma. Reshma has been a former chairperson of the Rampur municipality. Her husband Afroz Ali Khan has been an MLA from here once.

Though the crowds at her meetings could be said to be moderate, it was not clear if her “emotional appeals” will bring success to her party candidates in the poll.


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