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Is it the film stars or common people who decide the fate of elections?

BJP has a long list of actors from Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini and Dharmendra to now Sudeep and so has other parties like Congress and TMC

Is it the film stars or common people who decide the fate of elections?

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with Kannada actor Kiccha Sudeep who announced to campaign for BJP in upcoming state Assembly polls, during a press conference in Bengaluru, on Wednesday. PTI Photo



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, April 6

The BJP on Thursday showcased its star power in poll-bound Karnataka. Kannada superstar Kichcha Sudeep appeared on the saffron platform, pledging his star power to the ruling party.

Taking potshots, rival Congress said the people and not film stars decide the fate of a state.

“A film star is free to choose whom to support, sometimes by IT-ED or otherwise. Bankruptcy of BJP in Karnataka is clear. As no one turns up to listen to CM Bommai and BJP leaders, they now rely upon film stars to draw crowd. People, not film stars, will decide fate of Karnataka,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

BJP and star power

Preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, BJP strategists appear to be in touch with several southern stars from the film and the cricket world.

A few weeks back Home Minister Amit Shah was spotted with Jr NTR of RRR fame.

The meeting, said to be an “impromptu” one, was clearly aimed at increasing the saffron footprint in south India—Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh—where films and film stars enjoy a special place in hearts and minds of the people.

Mega stars-tuned-chief ministers like MG Ramachandra, J Jayalalithaa and NT Rama Rao who successfully made the transition from the glamour to politics were also well-respected in their tenures in public life.

Have all film stars been successful in politics?

Apparently not, especially if one takes the example of superstars Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan.

Revered like God by many, Rajini discovered that politics was not his cup of tea.Despite launching a political party, supposedly with the support from BJP, he backed off, almost leaving the saffron party and its Southern plans almost in the lurch.

His friend Kamal Haasan too has had a rough ride so far.

Though speaking on the political future of the party he founded—Makkal Needhi Maiam—Haasan says he will continue to be in politics as long as he is alive and MKM will exist as long as there is politics in society.

The political journey of Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi, or Chiru as he is also called in Andhra Pradesh, has also not been smooth. Chiru launched Praja Rajyam Party in 2008 but unlike films, his political venture flopped.

And then of course there is Amitabh Bachchan, who in 1984 briefly entered politics to support family friend Rajiv Gandhi. Bachchan contested from Allahabad against political stalwart HN Bahuguna, defeating him with one of the highest victory margins in general election history.

A couple of years later, Bachchan resigned, terming politics a “cesspool”.

Meanwhile, Govinda, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Mumbai on a Congress ticket, mostly remained absent from the House.

Politics and stars

While parties induct film stars to add colour to election campaigns and rallies and attract people, some like Shatrughan Sinha, Jaya Bachchan and late Sunil Dutt have been known to take their political lives seriously.

Observers say that stars add value and attract people to the rallies and meetings. Eventually, it is the party and the leader who count when it comes to the final act of casting the vote.

The BJP has a long list of entrants from the glamour world, including Shatrughan Sinha (who is no longer with BJP now), Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Dharmendra and now Sudeep.

However, other parties like Congress (Sunil Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Raj Babbar, Urmila Matondkar, etc), TMC (Satabdi Roy, Mimi Chakraborty) and Samajwadi Party (Jaya Bachchan) have also had their share of star power.

The TMC, in fact, has a long list of Tollywood film and TV actors.

It was TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee who gave Mithun Chakraborty a Rajya Sabha berth, though later he joined the BJP.

The BJP currently has several actors-turned-politicians, includingunion minister Smriti Irani, Bhojpuri stars Ravi Kishan, Dinesh Lal Yadav aka ‘Nirahua’ and Manoj Tewari, and Bollywood stars Kirron Kher and Sunny Deol in the Lok Sabha.

Babul Supriyo and Paresh Rawal had also contested on the BJP ticket in 2014.

Roopa Ganguly, who shot to fame as Draupadi in Mahabharat, represents BJP in the Rajya Sabha.

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#BJP #Congress #Dharmendra #hema malini #karnataka


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