Celebs in fray for LS polls

Well it is not a shocker to see Gul Panag chosen as the candidate of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from Chandigarh. Previously also we have seen actors and celebrities joining political parties like Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Prada, Navjot Singh Sidhu, etc.

And with the 2014 Lok Sabha election just around the corner, politics seems to be the flavour of the season for celebrities from Bollywood and the sports fraternity.
Other than Gul, actor Mithun Chakraborty has been selected by Trinamool Congress (TMC). Marathi

actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar too announced that he will contest the elections from Mumbai as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate.

Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan and actor Nagma have also been fielded by Congress from Jaunpur and Meerut respectively. Bengali actors Moon Moon Sen and Biswajit
Chatterjee are contesting for TMC too.

Although, the only thing that these celebs say is that they have joined politics to ‘ring in change’ but will they be able to deliver on their promises? Do they have the calibre to handle their constituency? Amitabh Kundu, professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said, “This is an ethical issue whether they will be able to translate their popularity and their fan club into votes or not. Although I am not quite in favour of this but this is what Indian politics is all about. No one asks for any qualification in our country. This is democracy and it is like a free market in our politics. There is hardly any ethics in our politics, which is decided on the basis of caste, creed, religion and popularity. Look at Sachin Tendulkar...he was hardly seen in Parliament.

So, these celebs are only brought in for electoral gains and numbers.”
Nowadays, actors-turned-politicians are seen selling water purifiers but are hardly seen meeting people from their constituencies and addressing their issues. Are they there only to add to the ‘glam quotient’?

If actors are taking this plunge, people from the world of sports are also not far behind. Footballer Baichung Bhutia, hockey legend Dhanraj Pillay and cricketer Mohammad Kaif have also taken their first step in politics. Baic­hung is set to contest from Bengal as a TMC candidate, Dhanraj has joined AAP and Mohammad Kaif has signed up with Congress.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor of Comparative Politics and Political Thought, said, “There can be various reasons for this change. First can be about the ‘old politicians’ who have a really bad reputation because of the corrupt Congress government. And for the first time in my life I am witnessing the strongest anti-Congress wave in our country. People don’t trust politicians now and they might think because these celebs are already rich, they might not want to ‘earn more’ (from the government fund).”
Duhita Goswami, a first-time voter, shared her thou­ghts on the upcoming election. “Looking at the current political scenario and what the ‘first time’ Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has done, I cannot trust any ‘new’ entrant now. I would rather vote for an experienced politician than any celeb, who might not have enough knowledge
about this game.”
Neha Das

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