Metrolife: Two actor-netas, two styles

Jaggesh and Upendra.

It is customary for many actors to gravitate towards politics. Ahead to this election season, Jaggesh and Upendra, two Kannada actors had announced they would be in the fray. While Jaggesh is on the campaign trail, Upendra has become quiet. Jaggesh is a BJP candidate from Yeshwanthpur, while Upendra, who had announced a new party in August last year, has decided to sit it out this time. Assembly elections are coming up on Saturday. Metrolife checked out how their politics is playing out.

JAGGESH, serious politician

How different is Jaggesh the actor and the politician?

I have been in politics since 1999. The life of an actor is very different from the life of a politician. Citizens should trust a candidate as a politician and not as an actor. Politicians are the ones who should keep promises made to the people. As an actor, one can attract fans for applause but a politician can only attract people with his interactions, leadership qualities and confidence.

Has being an actor helped in campaigning?

I am contesting from a constituency with about five lakh voters, and it is the biggest constituency. Being a known face helps. People don’t willingly wait for a politician but they are ready to wait to meet Jaggesh the actor. Even at late night events, I have had groups of women waiting for me. 

You’ve taken a break a from the TV show ‘Comedy Kiladigalu’. If you get elected, how will you manage it all?

I am not worried about it. I cannot work 24x7 in any field, be it the field of arts or politics. In 365 days, if I can spare 75 days for my projects and use the rest of the days for my duties towards the public, everything will be fine. 

Have you asked people in the film and entertainment industry for support?

I have 165 fan associations backing me at the moment. Each of these has five or six people working on the field, monitoring and asking people what they want. These points are sent to my office and I am aware of all the needs. We are working round the clock and brainstorming. We are all like soldiers on a war field, discussing and analysing events that happened through the day. People from the industry like Yograj Bhat, Pawan Wadeyar and Shashank have come out in my support on social media. I am thankful to my social media friends. I do not compel anyone to advocate me as politics can be dangerous business and one can get penalised for it.

What are your strong points?

I believe in my oration skills and I am aware of the Constitution, and the functioning of our legal system. I have been studying things closely for the last two decades.  

Does humour help to create a connection with people?

I am a very serious man in politics. I do not deliver movie lines or use humour to get applause.

What is your agenda for your constituency?

I plan to make my constituency a cleaner space, while work on widening of roads like Magadi Road. I want to concentrate on addressing pollution in lakes, providing more opportunities for women and youth. I want to give computers to children for education programmes.

UPENDRA, leader in waiting

Actor Upendra joined Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP) but later left it as he was not able to get along with the ideology of the party. Intending to register his party soon, he says he and his team and gearing up for the next elections.   

What really happened?

I strongly believe that there should not be any structure in a party as this is where corruption starts. I wanted our manifesto to reach people and for them to vote by themselves. My ideology was simple: the party should be clear about its funds and what it intends to do over the next five years. But slowly, designations were assigned.

And what is happening now?

I floated my own party and will be registering it in the coming days. It is called Uttama Praja Party (UPP) and will contest the next election season. It has no membership. I strongly vouch for a system which only has candidates and voters and no mediators. I believe in social media and media spreading the message and not extensive rallying and all that. 

Despite all the buzz, why isn’t UPP contesting this election?

I was late in registering the party. I was told the process needs a lot of time and I thought I should wait it out. 
I also think that things cannot happen overnight, people will need time to be in sync with UPP’s ideology.  Across Karnataka, we have many candidates and they will be told about how the party will be. 

With the elections on, are you supporting anyone?

I am rejecting the whole system and it’s not just me, many are. But I will be voting because it is my right and duty to vote. There are no right options at the moment as everyone is doing the same politics. Getting known faces, spending money and getting votes. The whole emotion of election should be unifying people and not dividing them. Everything from education to health has become business with politics. 

Are you back in the industry now?

Of course, it is my bread and butter. I always tell people to continue with their work and not sacrifice their life. I just finished a film called ‘Home Minister’. There are two other projects, one by R Chandru and another by Kanakpura Srinivas, not titled yet.

Mahesh Babu connect
Mahesh Babu’s latest film ‘Bharat Anu Nenu’ highlights a political system without mediators. Upendra says the Telugu film reflects more or less what he has in mind. “Accountability,
responsibility and transparency are the foundations of my ideology,” he told Metrolife.

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Metrolife: Two actor-netas, two styles

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