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'Josh' not great for Paresh Rawal as BJP seat denied

Paresh Rawal

Sitting MPs on the opposite sides of ideological spectrum, actors Innocent and Paresh Rawal entered Lok Sabha for the first time in 2014 but five years down the line, they are going the opposite way!

Rawal, BJP MP from Gujarat's Ahmedabad East, enacted a number of roles in Hindi films that was first immortalised by Left-backed independent Innocent in Malayalam movies, a Left-backed MP from Kerala, in Malayalam movies but this time only the latter is in the race.

The Gujarat MP, who recently was in limelight essaying the role of an official resembling National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in a Hindi film 'Uri' that was used by the BJP for campaign, has now been denied the seat while Innocent has been fielded by CPI(M) in Chalakudy seat in Kerala.

Their comparison does not end with them being film stars who brought laughter to cinema halls whenever they appeared on silver screen or being first time MPs -- both face complaints about their performance as an MP and declared in advance that they do not want to contest this time. Party workers in both the constituencies too were not happy with the performance of their actor-MPs citing their pre-occupation and want a change.

Many feel Rawal, who was hand-picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi then, pre-empted the denial of seat and "honourably" exited the field.

Whatever, BJP appeared to have happily accepted Rawal's announcement, which came in late March after parties started filling seats, CPI(M) chose to stick with Innocent despite party workers' disenchantment with him. The CPI(M) also decided to field him not as an independent as it did in 2014 but as a party candidate.

Innocent's co-actor in several films, Suresh Gopi, who is a Rajya Sabha nominated MP, is the BJP candidate in Thrissur seat in Kerala, which is adjacent to Chalakudy.

Rawal has been a favourite of Malayalee director Priyadarshan and essayed at least five characters Innocent portrayed in super hit Malayalam films when they were remade in Hindi in the 2000s.

Innocent’s 1993 role in Manichitrathaazhu was enacted by Rawal in Bhool Bulaya to peels of laughter in cinema halls while the Hindi actor also essayed Innocent’s roles in ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Mera Baap, Pehle Aap’, ‘Bhagam Bhaag’, ‘Chupke Chupke’ and ‘Hulchul’.

In 2014, Innocent, a cancer survivor, had defeated senior Congress MP P C Chacko by over 14,000 votes while Rawal, a candidate picked up personally by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is on the winning side with a margin of over 2.5 lakh.

It is not Innocent or Gopi from the film world who are contesting the polls this time. Former Congress leader late Ambareesh's wife and actress Sumalatha is taking on the Congress-JD(S) in Karnataka's Mandya where Deve Gowda's grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy is contesting. In the seat sharing, Mandya went to JD(S) and Sumalatha decided to contest with BJP support.

BJP's actress Hema Malini (Mathura in UP) and singer Babul Supriyo (Bankura) have already been named as candidates while Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tewari is likely to be fielded again from Delhi.

Supriyo will be facing yesteryear actress Moonmoon Sen, who has been fielded again by Trinamool Congress, in Asanol, while another Bhojpuri actor Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' has been fielded by the BJP against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh.

In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress is repeating sitting MPs superstar Derv from Ghatal and senior actress Satabdi Roy from Birbhum. It is also fielding young actress Mimi Choudhary from Jadavpur in place of historian Sugata Bose while Nusrat Jahan will make her debut, contesting from Basirhat. Another prominent actor Tapas Paul has been dropped from the Trinamool list.

Jayaprada, a former Samajwadi Party MP who is now in BJP, is contesting in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh while Congress' Shatrughnan Sinha, who was with BJP till recently, is likely to be fielded from Bihar's Patna Saheb against Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad.

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