M A I N   N E W S

Dharmendra on sticky wicket
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

Bikaner, April 10
Although the Jat from Punjab and the “He-man” of Indian cinema, Dharmendra is not finding himself on a foreign ground in this dusty township, more famous for its ‘Bhujia’, he is definitely trying hard to explain to the people that he is not just a star, but also the people’s man.

Having been brought in from outside by the BJP to contest the Parliamentary elections from here, Dharmendra has been on a sticky wicket of sorts fighting not the “outsider” label. Moreover, star status of years has people thinking whether he will be able to deliver for them or not.

The honesty of the BJP candidate was visible at a cine award function last year when after being given the life-time achievement award he had commented that for years he would get a new suit stitched for attending the award function in the hope that he would at least get one award for all hard work he has done on the screen. But every year he returned a disappointed man.

He is displaying the same honesty now when he explains to the people that he cannot only travel in aircraft but also on bullock carts. “After all, I come from a village and know the ways of villagers”, he says while addressing people of Bikaner.

He says he has come to Bikaner to be part of the people here and will work hard to make a place for himself in their hearts. He points out that he has been to Bikaner previously on a number of occasions in connection with the shooting of various films, but this is the first time he is getting an opportunity to work for the betterment of the people of the region.

His goal is to put Bikaner on the fast track of development and to become the voice of the common man, he says. He promises better facilities for farmers.

Incidentally, he is also facing a controversy of allegedly not respecting the traditions of a temple. He has been explaining hard that he has been brought up in a traditional way and knows how to respect the traditions of not only the temples, but also of the mosques and the gurdwaras.

Allegations have been levelled that when he visited Sri Laxminath Temple here last Saturday, some people accompanying him wore leather items into the temple and as a result the temple had to be purified.

BJP’s Bikaner vice-president Chandra Raj Singhvi, who is also the election in charge, has explained in a statement that Dharmendra had taken off the belt and shoes and had washed his hands before entering the temple. He said some people were trying to take political advantage by creating a religious issue out of nothing.

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