Won’t do paid tweets, say actors 

A sting showed celebs in Mumbai ready to take money and send out political messages on social media. Bengaluru actors say they have received feelers, but haven’t fallen for the bait.

(Top row, from left) Ameesha Patel, Jackie Shroff and Rakhi Sawant and (bottom row) Kailash Kher, Shreyas Talpade, Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor and Mahima Chaudhary allegedly had no qualms about using their social media accounts for paid political canvassing.

A sting by non-profit journalism company Cobrapost showed more than 30 celebrities, including Jackie Shroff, Ameesha Patel, Kailash Kher, Sonu Sood and Vivek Oberoi, agreeing to take money and tweet in favour of political parties. As the videos continue to go viral and stir conversations, Metrolife asked actors in Bengaluru whether they had been offered cash for political endorsements.


Upendra

‘This is all wrong’: Upendra, actor-turned-politician

“This kind of thing is exactly what my party is against. The ‘vichara’ (ideas) of a party is what should transform everyone, from candidates to voters. If I am standing for elections, I should transparently be able to explain what I aim to do, how I will go about it, what the budget is, and when the projects will start. These are the things that should stand out, and not some famous faces canvassing. Politics is not considered social work anymore. It has become a business. In my party, Prajakeeya, I am open to anyone joining us but I want them to be aware about our ideology.”


Devaraj

‘Actors need to be extra careful’:  Devaraj, actor

“I wouldn’t agree to post about any political party unless it fit my morals. This is not about the lump sums parties pay; it is about what agrees with me. Principles matter a lot. While an actor should be careful even when endorsing a product, he needs to be extra careful when campaigning for a party as the decision affects society.”


Pawan Kumar

'Will never go down that path’: Pawan Kumar, filmmaker

“I said no when I was asked to create some videos for a party in the Assembly elections. Forget politics, I don’t do campaigns even for movies unless I have seen them and believe in them. Having a fan following on social media means the audience invests faith in what the personality believes in, and that can be lost in an instant with something like this. I have never gone down that route. I have always said no to such offers and will continue to do so.”

 


Dhananjaya

‘I’d campaign for a friend’: Dhananjaya, actor

“As an actor, I feel it’s best to keep away from politics. I was approached during the Assembly elections by many parties, I wouldn’t do such campaigns.

I don’t understand the dynamics and calculations in politics. But if a friend or someone I know is contesting, and I believe in his ideology and work, I would support him. This won’t be for money though.”

 


Radhika Chetan

‘It is not ethically right’:  Radhika Chetan, actress

“I am against talking about my political inclinations on social media. I strongly believe whatever you put up on social media should be your opinion. If I had to speak for someone, I would do it without any payment. I believe it is not ethically right to take money and use social media for canvassing, even if it is for a party I agree with. There is a reason why votes are cast in secrecy.”

 


Ramesh Aravind

‘It’s not a bargain’: Ramesh Aravind, actor, filmmaker and producer

“Money doesn’t matter. The focus is on what I endorse. Be it a product or a brand, if I believe in it, I endorse it. In terms of a political party, if I am politically inclined I will go for it. If you believe in the ideals of a party, you propagate it; it’s not a bargain.”

 

Showbiz people stung

Jackie Shroff, Ameesha Patel, Kailash Kher, Sonu Sood and Vivek Oberoi, Shreyas Talpade, Sunny Leone, Shakti Kapoor, Tisca Chopra, Rakhi Sawant, television star Pankaj Dheer and his son Nikitin Dheer, Puneet Issar, Rajpal Yadav, Minissha Lamba, Mahima Chaudhary, Rohit Roy, Aman Verma, Koena Mitra and Rahul Bhat are some of those caught on video offering to tweet for cash.

Four actors — Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad and Saumya Tandon — refused to sell out.

Honourable ‘no’

Metrolife called Saumya Tandon, featured in the comedy serial ‘Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain!’, and she politely declined to speak about the controversy. One of the four who refused to send out political tweets in exchange for cash, she said she wouldn’t want to exploit the sting for publicity either.

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