Stop aping great people: Upendra

Stop aping great people: Upendra

As he launches his party Uttama Prajaakeeya Party, averick movie star explains his ideology of individualism

Actor-turned-politician Upendra is taking another shot at politics, and is upbeat about his prospects.

A day before he launched his Uttama Prajaakeeya Party, Upendra spoke extensively to Metrolife about his plans.

In 2017, just before the Assembly elections, he had launched the Karnataka Pragnyavantra Janata Paksha. He was later expelled from the party, with office-bearers complaining he was too authoritarian and individualistic.

On Monday, Upendra was busy with last-minute arrangements for the launch of Uttama Prajaakeeya Party when Metrolife visited him at his house in Banashankari

What he said:

Is your new party going to be a reflection of what you say in your films?

Yes, of course. The party ideology is a result of the struggle within me. That conflict leads one to the truth and it is indeed difficult to reach the truth. Truth pushes you further. For 25 years, I have been thinking about bringing about change because I felt things were not right. I used to express what I felt through my movies. I was afraid what my ideas would remain only with me and in films. ‘Uppi 2’ reflects what I feel. Prajaakeeya is a result of years of struggle within myself.

What is your party ideology?

Everybody knows what is happening. People feel things can’t be changed or improved. Mine is a manifesto-based party because I believe people should vote for thoughts and perspectives rather than for a person or party. The person is not important; what is important is what he or she is saying.

How are people reacting to your ideas?

Many asked me why I had to start a political party if I wanted to do social service, so I ask them back, ‘Isn’t politics social service?’ Many feel politics is a business. People are paying their taxes and an elected representative must be transparent, accountable and responsible for the tax collected. Politicians taking a salary must work for the welfare of the people.

How would you go about solving people’s problems?

Let us say a corporator is to be elected in a ward. The person should first study the ward, make an analysis of the problems and match it with the cost to make changes. He should then discuss it with the people and come up with a plan of action. But sadly, here it doesn’t work like that. Only rich people and popular faces stand for elections. I am not worried about winning or losing. I will examine candidates and present them before the people. If people think they are right, they can vote them. I am willing to wait, but I will not change my rules.

Whose political ideology or teachings have inspired you?

I haven’t followed anybody because I believe every individual has a different ideology. It’s sad that in our country one person ends up following another person. This attitude can’t be changed because, from childhood, one is told by elders to grow up to be like Mahatma Gandhi or Sachin Tendulkar. Nobody says you should be like Ramesh or Vikas or whoever you are.

So how would you define your ideology?

In fact, Mahatma Gandhi says God appears to different people in different forms. Basavanna saw God in his work. Likewise, each of us has to discover the truth. My strength is that I don’t know anything and that’s why I can receive everything.

What gives you the confidence to enter the big, bad world of politics?

I should be afraid only if I hate somebody. I don’t hate anybody. Politicians are definitely trying to do what they can, given the current circumstances in which money, caste and sentiments play an important role. I am asking people to think, analyse, understand and then support me.

What are the problems you will address first if you come to power?

The education system must be used as a tool to bring about change. Health and financial security are important. People mustn’t feel insecure in their old age.

How do you handle negativity and setbacks?

I always tell people I won the moment I set out to launch my party. I would have been a failure if I hadn’t. I want people to come to me with hope and the confidence to fulfil that hope.

Will your career in films take a backseat?

I don’t intend to make a career out of politics. I believe a politician’s career lasts only five years after people have elected him. If you lose then you go back to doing your job.

What message do you have for the people?

I believe there is a Mahatma Gandhi, Rajkumar, Albert Einstein in each one of us. It is up to us to be part of a movement for the greater good.


His people diagnosis

When Metrolife asked Upendra if he could remember any line from his films that represents his political thoughts, he chose this from one of his films: ‘Iccheyinda koccheyaliddu swaccha jeevana endu tilkondideera’. (Of your own free will, you are bogged down, and yet you imagine you live a fine life!)

Upendra’s prepares to receive his supporters ahead of his birthday, September 18.

‘Reserving for deserving’

Metrolife asked Upendra for his take on caste-based reservations. He said: “I believe reserving should be for the deserving. I can’t blame anybody nor can I change the Constitution. We have to work together for change and that change must come from within. People should reach a point when they say they don’t want any reservations.”

Upendra with his mother Anasuya

Forget about poverty, illiteracy and other problems. The most important thing people must have is hope, because hopelessness amounts to losing everything.
Upendra, a day before launch of his party

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